Washington, DC Area Events

June 2015
Washington, DC, Area Events

The 1297 Magna Carta is on permanent loan from David M. Rubenstein at the National Archives.

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.

“Spirited Republic” is presented in part by the National Archives Foundation through the generous support of HISTORY®, the Lawrence F. O'Brien Family, The Tasting Panel Magazine, and Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America. Additional exhibition funding provided by the Beer Institute, the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S., the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, and the National Beer Wholesalers Association.

Program Highlights

  • Magna Carta 800th Anniversary
    All month, stop by the Boeing Learning Center for activities relating to Magna Carta, rights, and the Constitution. Join us on June 5 for our Magna Carta Family Day. On June 15, celebrate the Great Charter with cake and panel discussions in the afternoon and evening.
  • Personal Digital Archiving
    Our Director of Digital Preservation leads a workshop for adults on organizing and preserving your own digital collections. (June 3)
  • 2015 AFI DOCS Guggenheim Symposium
    The symposium pays tribute to masters of documentary filmmaking. (June 19)
  • Charles Chaplin’s City Lights
    Chaplin’s Little Tramp befriends a blind flower girl and a millionaire. (June 20)
  • Punctuating Happiness
    A day-long conference explores the text of the Declaration of Independence and the National Archives' work in preserving the original document. (June 23).
  • Saving Cursive
    Linda Shrewsbury demonstrates her approach for teaching cursive handwriting. (June 25).
  • DC Statehood and Representative Democracy
    Lawmakers discuss the current state of representative democracy in America. (June 25).
  • Noontime Lectures
    Hear the authors of Back Channel to Cuba (June 1); Capital Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in Washington, D.C. (June 3); Reagan: A Life (June 5); Coal and Empire: The Birth of Energy Security in Industrial America, (June 11); Nixon’s Nuclear Specter (June 18); and Stars for Freedom: Hollywood, Black Celebrities, and the Civil Rights Movement (June 24).
  • Know Your Records
    Get started with the Introduction to Genealogy workshop (June 3); learn about Civil War medicine & surgery (June 3); and get help from an archivist (June 20).

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

June 1-30 (Monday-Saturday), 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Boeing Learning Center
Featured Activity in ReSource Room

Celebrate 800 years of conversations about rights and delve into the history of Magna Carta through hands-on activities in the Boeing Learning Center throughout the month of June.

Monday, June 1, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater & YouTube
Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations Between Washington and Havana

William M. LeoGrande and Peter Kornbluh will discuss this timely topic and their book Back Channel to Cuba, which chronicles a surprising history of dialogue and negotiations, both open and furtive, from the Kennedy to Obama administrations. A book signing will follow the program.

Wednesday, June 3, at 11 a.m.
Room G-25, Research Center (Penn. Ave. Entrance)
Introduction to Genealogy at the National Archives

Learn how to do basic genealogical research using Federal records at the National Archives. Lectures take place on the first Wednesday of each month.

Wednesday, June 3, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater & YouTube
Capital Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in Washington, D.C.

Washington Brewery–the city’s first brewery–opened in 1796. Brewer barons like Christian Heurich and Albert Carry dominated the taps of city saloons until production ground to a halt with Prohibition. Only Heurich survived, and when the venerable institution closed in 1956, Washington, DC, was without a brewery for 55 years. Author and beer scholar Garrett Peck taps this history while introducing readers to the bold new brewers leading the capital’s recent craft beer revival. A book signing will follow the program.

Wednesday, June 3, at 2 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater & YouTube
Civil War Medicine & Surgery

Archives specialist Rebecca Sharp will discuss The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865. This published source contains information about Civil War medical and surgical procedures as well as case studies. Presentation materials are available online.

Wednesday, June 3, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Boeing Learning Center
Hands-on Adult Workshop: Personal Digital Archiving

Are your digital photos a mess on your computer? Do you need practical tips to organize and preserve these treasures? Through fun hands-on activities, Leslie Johnston, our Director of Digital Preservation, will teach you ways to organize your digital collections and provide practical steps for preserving them. Consider this event one step toward your resolution to become more organized! To register or for more information, please send an email to education@nara.gov with Adult Workshops in the subject line.

Friday, June 5, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater & YouTube
Reagan: A Life

In his new biography, H. W. Brands puts forth Ronald Reagan as one of the great Presidents of the 20th century. Brands follows Reagan from small-town Illinois to Hollywood and to the White House. A book signing follows the program.

Saturday, June 6, 10 p.m.–1 p.m.
Boeing Learning Center
Magna Carta Family Day

Celebrate 800 years of Magna Carta! Meet Eileen Cameron and Doris Ettlinger, the author illustrators of Rupert's Parchment: Story of Magna Carta, a new book perfect for ages 6–11. Participants will also engage in hands-on activities as they discover more about a document that helped shaped how American's thinking about rights.

Thursday, June 11, at noon
Room G-25, Research Center (Penn. Ave. Entrance)
Researcher Talk: Coal and Empire

Before Americans associated oil with national security, there was coal. In his book Coal and Empire: The Birth of Energy Security in Industrial America, Peter A. Shulman, assistant professor of history at Case Western Reserve University and a National Archives Legislative Archives Fellow, describes how coal allowed Americans to rethink the place of the U.S. in the world.

Monday, June 15, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater & YouTube
Magna Carta Day: In the Shadow of the Great Charter

In the Supreme Court’s 2008 ruling on whether Guantanamo detainees could be barred from U.S. courts, Justice Anthony Kennedy cited both the U.S. Constitution and the Magna Carta. Why would a 21st-century judge invoke a document signed by an English king in the 13th century? As professor and author Robert Pallitto shows, Magna Carta’s legacy in the United States reaches back to the nation’s founding, with even the colonial charters reflecting its influence and principles that protect the rights and liberty of the citizenry. A book signing follows the program.

Monday, June 15, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater Lobby
Magna Carta Day:Magna Carta Cake

In celebration of the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta, join us for a slice of Magna Carta cake! Free cake with an image of Magna Carta will be served to the first 200 attendees.

Jennifer Paxton

Monday, June 15, at 7 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater & YouTube
Magna Carta Day: Magna Carta and the Constitution

The National Archives and the Constitutional Sources Project (ConSource) present a discussion on the influence of Magna Carta on American constitutionalism, from the nation’s earliest days to the present. Moderated by Judge Royce Lamberth, Senior United States District Judge for the District of Columbia, panelists include: Jennifer Paxton, historian and medieval specialist, Catholic University of America; Louis Fisher, Constitutional Scholar, author of “Magna Carta and Executive Power” in the American Bar Association’s recently published book Magna Carta and the Rule of Law; and Bruce O'Brien, Magna Carta expert from the University of Mary Washington.

 

Thursday, June 18, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater & YouTube
Nixon’s Nuclear Specter: The Secret Alert of 1969, Madman Diplomacy, and the Vietnam War

In 1969, Nixon and Kissinger used coercive diplomacy and excessive military force, including the specter of nuclear force, in their initial efforts to end the Vietnam War. Authors Jeffrey Kimball and William Burr relate how Nixon and Kissinger launched a secret global nuclear alert to back up these threats. A book signing will follow the program.

Friday, June 19, at 7 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater & YouTube
2015 AFI DOCS Guggenheim Symposium Honoring

The AFI DOCS Charles Guggenheim Symposium pays tribute to filmmakers who have mastered the art of documentary filmmaking and inspire audiences with exploration of the human experience. This year's honoree is filmmaker Stanley Nelson (The Murder of Emmett Till, Freedom Riders). Presented by the AFI DOCS Documentary Film Festival in partnership with the Charles Guggenheim Center for Documentary Film at the National Archives.

Saturday, June 20, at noon-4 p.m.
Room G-25, Research Center (Penn. Ave. Entrance)
“Help! I’m Stuck” Genealogy Consultation

Not sure where to begin? Has a genealogical problem stumped you? An archivist is available from noon to 4 p.m. to answer your questions. Sign up for a 20-minute appointment at the Microfilm Research desk on Saturday.

City Lights, Courtesy of Janus Films”

Saturday, June 20, at 2 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater
Charles Chaplin’s City Lights

Arguably Charles Chaplin’s most beloved film, City Lights features the Little Tramp being befriended by both a blind flower girl and a millionaire. Dr. Charles Maland, J. Douglas Bruce Professor of English and Cinema Studies at the University of Tennessee Knoxville and author of Chaplin and American Culture: The Evolution of a Star Image, introduces the screening.

Tuesday, June 23, 9:15 a.m.–4:15 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater
Punctuating Happiness

"Punctuating Happiness" will explore the National Archives' work in preserving the original Declaration of Independence, the diversity of the document's textual tradition, how this diversity affects historical research, and how it is taught in schools. Speakers will include National Archives Executive for Research Services Bill Mayer and National Archives Director of Conservation Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler; historians David Armitage, Holly Brewer, Woody Holton, Eric Slauter, and Richard Wendorf; James McClure, the editor of the Papers of Thomas Jefferson; and Seth Kaller, a collector and broker of rare documents. Register for this free conference at: https://phdc2015.eventbrite.com. Presented in partnership with the Institute for Advanced Study.

Wednesday, June 24, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater & YouTube
Stars for Freedom: Hollywood, Black Celebrities, and the Civil Rights Movement

The Stars for Freedom–a handful of celebrities both black and white–risked their careers by crusading for racial equality. Focusing on the “Leading Six” trailblazers—Harry Belafonte, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dick Gregory, and Sidney Poitier—author Emilie Raymond reveals how they advanced the civil rights movement. A book signing will follow the program.

Thursday, June 25, 1 p.m.–3 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater
Saving Cursive: New Tools in the Fight for Handwriting

Digital technology and time pressures in today's classroom raise questions about whether teaching cursive handwriting is relevant or worthwhile. However, growing research says cursive provides benefits that keyboarding does not and links handwriting to academic success. Linda Shrewsbury, creator and president of CursiveLogic, comes to the handwriting debate with a tool to teach cursive in a fraction of the time it's previously taken. Consider this event one step towards preserving cursive for the next generation.Presented in partnership with Fahrney's Pens.

Eleanor Holmes Norton

Thursday, June 25, at 7 p.m.
William G. McGowan Theater & YouTube
DC Statehood and Representative Democracy

Washington, DC, established as a federal district to be run by Congress, is today a thriving city whose population exceeds that of some states. Yet its citizens do not enjoy full voting rights in Congress. In some states, citizens feel disenfranchised by voter ID laws. The right to vote for one’s representatives may be a basic right of our democracy, but do our current voting laws violate the spirit of our democracy? A panel of experts discusses the current state of our representative democracy. Moderated by American University Professor Leonard Steinhorn, panelists include Eleanor Holmes Norton, Delegate to the U.S. Congress representing the District of Columbia; Anthony Williams, former mayor of the District of Columbia; former Member of Congress Jim Walsh (R-NY, 1989-2009); and others. Presented in partnership with the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress.

Boeing Learning Center

The ReSource room is a hands-on space open to all, Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Document-based programs are available for groups in the Learning Lab. Reservations are required; contact learninglab@nara.gov or visit www.archives.gov/education/student-visits/dc.html.

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

Exhibitions

Spirited Republic: Alcohol in American History Who was the “lady hootch hunter?” What is a “drunkometer?” And why did some Americans campaign against the “spirit ration?” Find these answers and more in this fascinating collection of alcohol-related posters, films, patent drawings, petitions, photographs, and artifacts. Visit “Spirited Republic” and learn about American debates about alcohol and its place in society. Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery, Through January 10, 2016

Spirited Republic is presented in part by the National Archives Foundation through the generous support of HISTORY®, the Lawrence F. O'Brien Family, The Tasting Panel Magazine, and Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America. Additional exhibition funding provided by the Beer Institute, the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S., the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, and the National Beer Wholesalers Association.

Records of Rights
“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. The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act on display in the Landmark Document case. 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


Featured Documents on Display in Washington, DC

Featured Document Display: 1774 Articles of Association
In honor of the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, we present the rarely viewed Articles of Association issued by the Continental Congress in response to the Intolerable Acts. East Rotunda Gallery, June 4–July 29

Featured Document Display: 100th Anniversary of the Sinking of the RMS Lusitania
The Lusitania sank in 18 minutes and only six of the ship’s lifeboats were successfully deployed. Nearly 1,200 passengers and crew died. A drawing of a lifeboat used in the Lusitania liability case is on display. East Rotunda Gallery, through June 3


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 e-mail 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 the National Archives. 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

.