Washington, DC Area Events

April 2016
Washington, DC, Area Events

Edith Lee–Payne participated in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom as a 12–year–old in 1963. Photographer Rowland Scherman snapped this now–iconic image (National Archives Identifier 542030)

You can watch some of our programs live on YouTube. Look for the US National Archives YouTube Channel logo in a program description and click it to watch live or catch up later.

Live captioning will be available online and in the William G. McGowan Theater. If you require an alternative or additional accommodation for an event (such as a downloadable transcript or a sign language interpreter), please send an email to public.program@nara.gov or call 202-357-5000 in advance.

Presented in part by the National Archives Foundation, AT&T, HISTORY®, and the Lawrence F. O'Brien Family.

Program Highlights

  • African American Life in Washington, DC, Before Emancipation
    A panel discusses life in the nation’s capital before the 1862 Compensated Emancipation Act and the forthcoming “Slavery and Freedom” exhibit at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. (April 13).
  • Family Activities
    Story time for preschoolers explores friendship between nations (April 13), and our Cherry Blossom Family Day has activities for all ages (April 23).
  • Eye on the 60s
    The film Eye on the 60s follows the work of former LIFE photographer Rowland Scherman (April 21).
  • 50 Years of Writings and Reflections with Lee Hamilton
    Former member of Congress Lee Hamilton reflects on Congress, the Presidency, and American politics (April 27).
  • Noontime Lectures
    Hear the authors of Free Speech and Unfree News: The Paradox of Press Freedom in America (April 4); John Quincy Adams: Militant Spirit (April 7); The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World's Most Precious Manuscripts (April 25); and Speaker Battles, Then and Now (April 28).
  • Know Your Records
    Learn how records in the National Archives at Kansas City (April 11) and get help from an archivist (April 16).

Locations, Hours, and Contact Information

All events listed in the calendar are free unless noted. Reservations for McGowan Theater programs are not required but are recommended. Use the new online event registration system from the National Archives Foundation to reserve your seats:
1. Register at www.archivesfoundation.org/events/
2. Print your email confirmation and bring it with you.
3. To reserve by phone, call 202-357-6814. Walk-ins without reservations will be admitted, depending on available seats.

For McGowan Theater programs, use the Special Events Entrance on Constitution Avenue. The doors to the building will open 45 minutes prior to the start of the program.

Current Exhibitions

Lost and Found

  • National Archives at Washington, DC: 202-357-5023
  • National Archives at College Park: 301-837-2900

 

Monday, April 4, noon
William G. McGowan Theater & US National Archives YouTube Channel
Free Speech and Unfree News: The Paradox of Press Freedom in America

Does America have a free press? Many who answer “yes” cite First Amendment protections that shield the press from government censorship. But in Free Speech and Unfree News, a comprehensive history of American press freedom, Sam Lebovic shows that, on its own, the right of free speech has been insufficient to guarantee a free press and compels us to reexamine assumptions about what freedom of the press means in a democratic society. A book signing follows the program.

 

 

 

Thursday, April 7, noon
William G. McGowan Theater & US National Archives YouTube Channel
John Quincy Adams:  Militant Spirit

John Quincy Adams, the son of John Adams, was a brilliant ambassador and Secretary of State, a frustrated President at a historic turning point in American politics, and a dedicated congressman who literally died in office—at the age of 80, in the House of Representatives, in the midst of an impassioned political debate. James Traub draws on Adams’s diary, letters, and writings to evoke a diplomat and President whose ideas remain with us today. A book signing follows the program.

Monday, April 11, 2 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater & US National Archives YouTube Channel
Diets, Textiles, and Electricity: Records that Impacted the Domestic Lives of Americans

Pamela Anderson highlights records available through the National Archives at Kansas City, including those that impacted or improved the domestic lives of American citizens. Video | Captioning | Presentation.

Wednesday, April 13, 10–11 a.m.
Boeing Learning Center
Story Time in the ReSource Room for Pre-Schoolers and Adults

It’s story time at the National Archives! Join us for stories, activities, and crafts about friendship between nations. This program is designed especially for 3–5 year olds and accompanying adults.

A celebration of DC emancipation.

Wednesday, April 13, at 7 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater & US National Archives YouTube Channel
African American Life in Washington, DC, Before Emancipation

As Washington became the focus of abolitionism before the Civil War, antislavery activists argued that the sight of slavery and slave dealers in the nation’s capital disgraced the nation and its ideals. A panel will explore life before the 1862 Compensated Emancipation Act and discuss the “Slavery and Freedom” exhibit at the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Moderated by John W. Franklin of the NMAAHC, panelists include Mark Auslander, Central Washington University; Maurice Jackson, Georgetown University; and NMAAHC curators Nancy Bercaw and Mary Elliott. Presented in partnership with NMAAHC, the DC Commission of African American Affairs, and the DC Commission on Emancipation.

Saturday, April 16, noon–4 p.m.
Microfilm Room, Research Center (Penn. Ave. Entrance)
“Help! I'm Stuck” Genealogy Consultation

Not sure where to begin? Has a genealogical problem stumped you? Sign up for a 20–minute appointment at the Microfilm Research desk on Saturday on a first-come, first-served basis.

Thursday, April 21, 7 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater
Eye on the 60s: The Iconic Photography of Rowland Scherman

Eye on the 60s offers an intimate portrait of former LIFE photographer Rowland Scherman and how his photographic eye captured the essence of America’s most remarkable decade. The film gives insight into breathtaking events and features candid recollections with major celebrities and politicians. Scherman was the first Peace Corps photographer, an insider to the Kennedy and Shriver families, and the creator of an astounding record of the March on Washington. Following the screening, filmmaker Chris Szwedo will be joined by Edith Lee–Payne, who as a 12-year-old girl was the subject of one of Scherman’s most famous images, taken at the March on Washington.

Saturday, April 23, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Boeing Learning Center
Cherry Blossom Family Day

Join the National Archives for a fun, activity-filled day exploring the many ways countries show their friendship! Investigate treaties, learn about some of the unusual gifts countries have given, and participate in activities designed for the entire family to enjoy! This program is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation through the support of John Hancock Financial.

Monday, April 25, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater & US National Archives YouTube Channel
The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World's Most Precious Manuscripts

In 2012, thousands of Al Qaeda militants from northwest Africa seized control of most of Mali, including Timbuktu, threatening to destroy tens of thousands of ancient Islamic and secular manuscripts. In his book, journalist Joshua Hammer tells the incredible story of how librarian Abdel Kader Haidara and his associates rescued some 370,000 historical manuscripts. A book signing follows the program.

 

 

 

 

Lee Hamilton

Wednesday, April 27, 7 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater & US National Archives YouTube Channel
Congress, Presidents, and American Politics: 50 Years of Writings and Reflections with Lee Hamilton

Recently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, former member of Congress Lee Hamilton reflects on Congress and the Presidency and the lessons to be learned from years past. When he joined the Congress in 1965 as a U.S. Representative from southern Indiana, he began writing commentaries for his constituents describing his experiences, impressions, and developing views of what was right and wrong in American politics. His service in the House spanned many national milestones over 50 years: the protests of the sixties, the Vietnam War, and the Great Society reforms, the Watergate and Iran-Contra affairs, and the post-9/11 years as the vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission. Joining the conversation will be moderator Tom Edsall, New York Times columnist, and Ray LaHood, former Secretary of Transportation, former member of Congress, and author of Seeking Bipartisanship: My Life in Politics. Book signings follow the program.

Thursday, April 28, noon
Research Center, Room 25-G (Penn. Ave. Entrance)
Speaker Battles, Then and Now

Charles Stewart III, professor of Political Science at MIT, will discuss the recent contest for the Speaker of the House and his book, Fighting for the Speakership: The House and the Rise of Party Government.

The ReSource Room is open Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

 

Exhibitions

Records of Rights” explores how Americans have worked to realize their nation’s ideals of freedom. The exhibit features the 1297 Magna Carta, on permanent loan from David M. Rubenstein. A court record from the Miranda v. Arizona decision is on view in the Landmark Documents case. It is the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1966 decision, which transformed police procedures and the rights of the accused. David M. Rubenstein Gallery

1297 Magna Carta
The 1297 Magna Carta, on permanent loan from David M. Rubenstein, is featured in the “Records of Rights” exhibit. David M. Rubenstein Gallery

Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom

  • Declaration of Independence
  • Constitution
  • Bill of Rights

The Charters of Freedom: Our Nation’s Founding Documents” takes a fresh look at the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Using historical documents from the holdings of the National Archives, we answer two key questions about the Charters: "How did they happen?" and "Why are they important?" Rotunda

The Public Vaults” invites visitors into virtual stack areas to discover historic documents, films, maps, and photographs from the National Archives. A rare print on parchment of the Declaration of Independence–made from the original copperplate engraved by William J. Stone in 1823—is on display for a limited time. Courtesy of David M. Rubenstein


Special Exhibition in Washington, DC

Amending America
Only 27 times—out of more than 11,000 proposals—have Americans reached consensus to amend the Constitution. A new exhibit, “Amending America,” reveals the stories behind why some proposed amendments successfully became part of the Constitution, while others failed to gain enough support. Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery, March 11, 2016–September 4, 2017

The “Amending America” exhibit and related programs are presented in part by AT&T, HISTORY®, the Lawrence F. O’Brien Family, and the National Archives Foundation.

Featured Documents on Display in Washington, DC

Featured Document Display: Harvey Milk’s Letter to President Carter
In 1978, San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk wrote to President Carter asking for his support in defeating a ballot proposition that would have banned gay men and lesbians from working in California school districts. Milk’s letter and a portion of a speech he gave will be on display. East Rotunda Gallery, April 28–June 29

Featured Document Display: Civil Rights Act of 1866
To celebrate its 250th anniversary, the Civil Rights Act of 1866 will be on display. The act, which passed despite President Andrew Johnson’s veto, attempted to put African Americans on equal footing with whites, paving the way for the 14th Amendment. East Rotunda Gallery, March 3–April 27


Special Exhibition in College Park, Maryland

Auditorium Lobby at the National Archives Research Center:

"The Long View" features digitally produced facsimiles of historic panoramic photographs from the Still Picture holdings.

Motorcycle Corps, Army Motor Service - Under Command of J. S. Berryman. US Capitol. Wash., DC. Jan. 26, 1919, By R. S. Clements. Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (165-PP-60-47)

The exhibit not only showcases the wide variety of panoramic techniques, but also includes National Archives records such as cartographic maps and patent drawings that relate to the photographs. Thirty-four panoramas and other records are on display and span the period from 1864 to 1997.
See more panoramas online


Online Exhibits

Dozens of exhibits can be experienced online. Visit Now!

Records of Rights
Explore records of the National Archives documenting the ongoing struggle of Americans to define, attain, and protect their rights.

Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage
Startling evidence of the once vibrant Jewish life in Iraq came to light in May 2003—over 2,700 books and tens of thousands of documents were discovered in the flooded basement of the Iraqi intelligence headquarters by a U.S. Army team.

To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis
An exhibit marking the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

What's Cooking Uncle Sam? logo “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?”
Unearth the stories and personalities behind the increasingly complex programs and legislation that affect what we eat. Learn about the Government’s extraordinary efforts, successes, and failures to change our eating habits. Find out why the Government wanted us to “Eat the Carp,” “Share the Meat,” and “Know Our Onions.” There are over 100 original records in the exhibit—including folk songs, war posters, educational films, and even seed packets. From Revolutionary War rations to Cold War cultural exchanges, discover the multiple ways that food has occupied the hearts and minds of Americans and their Government.
Online exhibit

You will be able to watch our archived programs on Ustream for a limited time while the landing page is still active. www.ustream.tv/usnationalarchives


Locations, Hours, and Contact Information

The National Archives Museum
Constitution Avenue between 7th and 9th Streets, NW, Washington, DC

For details, see the Visitor's Guide or visit the National Archives Museum.

Exhibit Hours:

  • 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
  • Last admission is at 5 p.m.
  • Open every day except Thanksgiving and December 25.

Admission free.

All events listed in the calendar are free unless noted. Reservations for McGowan Theater programs are not required but are recommended. Use the new online event registration system from the National Archives Foundation to reserve your seats:
1. Register at www.archivesfoundation.org/events/
2. Print your email confirmation and bring it with you.
3.To reserve by phone, call 202-357-6814. Walk-ins without reservations will be admitted, depending on available seats.

For McGowan Theater programs, use the Special Events Entrance on Constitution Avenue. The doors to the building will open 45 minutes prior to the start of the program.

For reservations or to be placed on the mailing list, call 202-357-5000, or toll free at 1-877-874-7616, or email public.program@nara.gov.

Museum Visit Reservations: To make reservations to visit the museum, especially during the height of the tourist season and holiday periods use online reservations.

myArchives Store: Offers publications and gift items in support of National Archives exhibitions, education, and public programs. A 15% discount is offered on program-related books. Telephone 202-357-5271.


The National Archives Research Center
700 Penn. Ave., NW, Washington, DC and 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD.

Research Hours for both locations:

Check the Washington, DC and College Park, MD location information for records pull times and other important details.

Call 202-357-5450 for a docent-led guided tour.

wheelchair icon TDD: 301-837-0482. The National Archives is fully accessible. To request an accommodation (such as a sign language interpreter) for a public program, please call 202-357-5000, or toll free at 1-877-874-7616, or email public.program@nara.gov at least two weeks prior to the event.


Top of Page

PDF files require the free Adobe Reader.
More information on Adobe Acrobat PDF files is available on our Accessibility page.

Washington, DC Area Events >

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
1-86-NARA-NARA or 1-866-272-6272

.