National Archives houses the most important historical documents of the United States, such as the original Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, Constitution and the 1297 version of the Magna Carta.
Things to See & Do
The Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom is the permanent home of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution of the United States, and Bill of Rights.
The Public Vaults, a permanent exhibit in the National Archives Museum, allows visitors to experience the feeling of going into the stacks and vaults of the National Archives. Here you can encounter fascinating original records (including Abraham Lincoln's telegrams to his generals, audio recordings from the Oval Office) and interactive exhibits that allow you to explore some of the most interesting documents, photos and films held at the Archives.
William McGowan Theatre - A component of the National Archives Experience is the 290-seat William G. McGowan Theater. By day, the McGowan Theater shows a short signature film about the National Archives between 11am and 12pm and 1pm and 2pm.
National Archives Insider Tips
- Admission to the National Archives Museum is always free.
- Online Reservations: Visitors may wait in the general public line for entry at any time the museum is open. However, advance reservations are highly recommended and will allow visitors to avoid the exterior portion of the line to see the Charters of Freedom during the height of the tourist season (mid-March through Labor Day) and during holiday seasons. The convenience fee for online reservations is $1.50 per person and admission to all of the National Archives Museum exhibits is free.
- Visitors with advance reservations enter through the Special Events door at Constitution Ave. and 7th Street and must be in line at the entrance at least 10 minutes prior to the start time of their visit. Security Screening will be conducted upon entry.
- Plan to spend at least 90 minutes to explore the exhibits and learning center.