October 10, 2006
National Archives Welcomes Millionth Visitor in FY 2006
Washington, DC…The National Archives welcomed its millionth visitor in fiscal year 2006 on Friday, September 29, 2006 at 3:15 PM. Visitor Nate Wolters, traveling with his family from Concord, California, was warmly greeted by National Archives staff. Expressing surprise as the person reaching this milestone, four year-old Nate shouted "awesome!"
Nate and his family came to the National Archives as part of a three-generation, month-long American history field trip taking them up and down the East Coast. This attendance milestone far surpasses initial projections, given that the National Archives was closed during peak visitor attendance weeks in late June and early July because of heavy rains which caused flooding in the DC area.
Large numbers of visitors come to the National Archives to see the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom, the Public Vaults exhibition, programs and films in the William G. McGowan Theater, and changing exhibits in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery. "Visitors come to the National Archives in large numbers to discover and learn from their past. Here they can glimpse that past through the documents dealing with the actual events and the people who have influenced the most pivotal moments in our nation's history," said Archivist Allen Weinstein.
The National Archives Experience is made possible by a public/private partnership between the National Archives and Records Administration and the Foundation for the National Archives, which is the private sector partner that supports the creation of these new exhibitions and educational programs and resources:
Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom
On permanent display are the Charters of Freedom - the original Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights, praised by President George Bush as "the most cherished material possessions of a great and good nation." The President encouraged "fellow citizens [to] come to this rotunda and see firsthand the work of our founding fathers." Attendance figures show people have heeded his advice. "A New World is at Hand" exhibit surrounds the Charters and presents a selection of milestone documents that chronicle the creation of the Charters in the 18th century and their impact on the course of history in the United States and worldwide.
Public Vaults Exhibition
The Public Vaults exhibition brings visitors beyond the Rotunda and creates the feeling of entering the stacks and vaults of the National Archives. Containing over 1,100 records and 22 state-of-the-art interactives stations, the exhibition shows the raw materials from which history is made, while also relaying compelling personal stories of both our nation’s leaders and "ordinary" Americans.
William G. McGowan Theater
The elegant William G. McGowan Theater is a centerpiece of the National Archives Experience. By day the McGowan Theater continuously shows the new 11-minute introductory film "Democracy Starts Here." By night, this theater is rapidly becoming one of the nation’s leading centers for documentary film and a forum for programs that explore American history, democracy and government.
Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery
The Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery is a 3,000 square-foot gallery for special and traveling exhibitions at the National Archives. Exhibitions in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery explore newsworthy and timely themes, issues, events, and turning points in our nation’s history. The current "EYEWITNESS – American Originals from the National Archives" exhibition includes gripping eyewitness accounts that chronicle dramatic moments in U.S. history. Through January 1, 2007.
The Archives Shop
Visitors have one last important stop to make before they leave – a special shop where they can purchase some treasures of their own. Archives Shop sales have far exceeded initial projections. By far, the most popular items are reproductions of the Charters of Freedom. New items in the shop include the books The Public Vaults Unlocked: Discovering American History in the National Archives and The Charters of Freedom "A New World is at Hand."
Information and Hours
The National Archives Experience is free and open to the public. The National Archives building is located between 7th and 9th Streets, NW on Constitution Avenue. Metro stop: Archives/Navy Memorial. For information on individual and group tours see our Visit the National Archives Experience web page. Exhibit hours are 10 AM to 5:30 PM through March 14 and 10 AM to 7 PM from March 15-Labor Day (Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas days). For the most up-to-date information on events and programs, visit our Calendar of Events web page.
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For press information contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.