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December 14, 2006

On Exhibit, "New York: An American Capital"

National Archives Reunites Historic New York Site with the Records of Its Past

The National Archives established a new cultural presence at Federal Hall National Memorial with the opening of "New York: An American Capital," on December 14, 2006. The preview exhibit explores some of the stories that unite the rich expanse of Federal records held by the National Archives and Records Administration with this premiere New York historic site that is managed by the National Park Service.

The exhibit is free to the public and will remain in Federal Hall National Memorial indefinitely. Federal Hall, at 26 Wall Street, New York City, is open 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday–Friday. Special building hours for exhibit opening are as follows. Dec. 14, 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.; Dec.15-17, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

The special opening weekend also features family programming: George Washington on Thursday afternoon; James Madison on Friday; and special National Archives "National Treasures" presentations and National Park Service presentations on colonial printing, architecture and medicine, as well as Bill of Rights signing, throughout the weekend.

The City of New York is connected to many milestones of our nation’s history. "New York: An American Capital" highlights the role of the city as the first federal capital and as a capital of finance, immigration, culture and innovation. The stories come to life through facsimiles of documents, posters, drawings and photographs from the vaults of the National Archives in Washington D.C. and the collections of the National Archives Northeast Region in New York.

Highlights include:

  • The original New York Ratification of the U.S. Bill of Rights, on display for the exhibit’s first four days only (replaced thereafter with a facsimile copy). The display marks the first time the document has been exhibited in New York City since it was signed in 1790, according to the records of the National Archives.

  • The colorfully illustrated document presenting "Liberty Enlightening the World" as a gift from France to the United States on July 4, 1884. The Statue of Liberty was installed in New York harbor two years later.

  • The plan of Brooklyn Bridge by John and Washington Roebling. When it was completed in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge, with its patented system of steel wire cables, was the longest suspension bridge in the world.

  • The first and last pages of George Washington’s Inaugural Address, delivered on April 30, 1789 on the balcony of Federal Hall overlooking Wall Street.

The exhibit, "New York: An American Capital," represents the first step in a multi-year joint effort of the National Park Service and the National Archives to bring an engaging, interactive exhibition experience to the Federal Hall site.

The exhibit was made possible through the generous contributions of the Foundation for the National Archives and the National Park Service.

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