The following is a press release written by the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA):
Thursday, June 15, 2023
On Tuesday, July 4, 2023, the National Archives will celebrate the 247th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence with its traditional in-person Fourth of July program featuring musical performances and family activities. Highlights include welcoming remarks by Archivist of the United States Dr. Colleen Shogan, a variety of educational and family-friendly interactive programs with historical figures and Archives educators, and a lively, patriotic reading ceremony emceed by WUSA9 News Anchor Allison Seymour. All July 4th activities are free and open to the public. Extended hours for the National Archives Museum during the July 4th weekend (July 1, 2, 3, and 4) are 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Timed entry tickets to see the original Declaration of Independence in person are available, but not required.
July 4th at the National Archives is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation through the generous support of John Hancock, AARP, and Dykema.
“As the keepers of our country’s founding documents – the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights – we at the National Archives have a unique privilege and responsibility to ensure all citizens have access to these historical charters, and the knowledge and promise that come with them,” said Shogan. “We proudly welcome everyone to come celebrate the Fourth of July with us.”
PROGRAM INFORMATION: July 4th at the National Archives
WHEN: Tuesday, July 4, 2023
Ceremony: 10 a.m.–11 a.m.
Family activities: 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Exhibits (including the original Declaration of Independence): 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
WHERE: National Archives Building Constitution Avenue steps
Between 7th and 9th Streets, NW, Washington, DC
A riser will be reserved for the press.
This family event is free and open to the public. Seating on the Constitution Avenue steps is available on a first-come, first-seated basis.
Patriotic Shopping at the National Archives Tent Store on Constitution Avenue
8:30 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
Live Musical Performance by The Experience Band and Show
9 a.m.–9:45 a.m.
Declaration of Independence Reading Ceremony
10 a.m.–11 a.m.
Greetings by WUSA9 News Anchor Allison Seymour
Presentation of colors by the Continental Color Guard*
Live performance of the National Anthem by Dr. Kimberly Hess and the Marymount University Chamber Choir
Performance by the Fife and Drum Corps*
Remarks by Archivist of the United States Colleen Shogan
Dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence by costumed interpreters portraying historical characters, including Abigail Adams, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, James Forten, John Hancock, Ned Hector, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington
Live performance of “America the Beautiful” by Millicent Scarlett, Soprano
* Continental Color Guard and Fife and Drum Corps provided by U.S. 3rd Infantry, the Old Guard.
Live Musical Performance by The Experience Band and Show
11 a.m.–11:45 a.m.
Stay and enjoy front-row seats for the National Independence Day Parade at 11:45 a.m.
11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Inside the National Archives Museum, Boeing Learning Center
Participate in hands-on family activities:
Sign the Declaration of Independence
Declaring Independence Scavenger Hunt
Make your own 4th of July Flag
Design and Make Your Own Independence Day Button
Fun Coloring and Activity Stations
Meet and have your picture taken with Revolutionary figures Abigail and John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Ned Hector, John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington between noon and 4 p.m.
Listen to Frederick Douglass tell his story and explain what the 4th of July means to him
And a whole lot more!
Related Upcoming Virtual Programs
The Road to the Declaration of Independence: 1774
Join us the week of June 26–30 for our next installment of The Road to the Declaration. This year’s series focuses on the stories and events of 1774. Meet Thomas Jefferson, John and Abigail Adams, Thomas Gage, Samuel Adams, John Dickinson, and others as they discuss the rights of British America, the establishment of the first government of the 13 colonies—the Continental Congress—how to address the Intolerable Acts, and the adoption of the Articles of Association. These programs can be found in the Road to the Declaration Playlist on the National Archives YouTube channel.
Part One: The Intolerable Acts!
Monday, June 26, at noon ET
Lt. Gen. Thomas Gage, Commander-in-Chief of His Royal Majesty’s forces in North America, explains what the Intolerable Acts meant for the American colonies. Samuel Adams reads one of his many letters after the passage of the Boston Port Act, which became one of the catalysts for the First Continental Congress. This program is presented in partnership with the National Archives Foundation and American Historical Theatre. General Gage is portrayed by Robert Gleason. Samuel Adams is portrayed by David Holland.
Part Two: A Summary View of the Rights of British America in 1774
Tuesday, June 27, at noon ET
As 1774 brings many changes to the life of Thomas Jefferson, he shares his sentiments on the recent British Parliamentary (Intolerable) Act and outlines a path forward for colonists. This program is presented in partnership with the National Archives Foundation and American Historical Theatre. Thomas Jefferson is portrayed by Steven Edenbo.
Part Three: The Road to the First Continental Congress
Wednesday, June 28, at noon ET
By the summer of 1774, John Adams was a delegate to the First Continental Congress for the state of Massachusetts. As John and Abigail Adams discuss preparations for his trip to Congress in Philadelphia, they share the hardships and events of their temporary separation and look to a future that will include many more years of struggle on the Road to Independence. This program is presented in partnership with the National Archives Foundation and American Historical Theatre. John Adams is portrayed by Peyton Dixon. Abigail Adams is portrayed by Kim Hanley.
Part Four: The Continental Association and the Resolves of the First Continental Congress
Thursday, June 29, at noon ET
John Dickinson details his Petition to the King asking Britain to repeal the Intolerable Acts. As a delegate to the First Continental Congress representing Pennsylvania, he further details the resolves made by the First Continental Congress, known as the Continental Association (Articles of Association), and how those resolutions will affect trade for both the colonists and the British.This program is presented in partnership with the National Archives Foundation and American Historical Theatre. John Dickinson is portrayed by Douglas Thomas.
Part Five: 1774: The Year in Acts and Petitions
Friday June 30, at Noon ET
The Boston Gazette Print Shop sets the stage for a discussion of recent news including the Quartering Act, Manumission Petitions, and the Suffolk Resolves when Abigail Adams and Jeffrey Brace stop in and talk with Mrs. Benjamin Edes.This program is presented in partnership with the National Archives Foundation and American Historical Theatre. Abigail Adams is portrayed by Kim Hanley, Mrs. Benjamin Edes is portrayed by Jill Lawrence, and Jeffrey Brace is portrayed by Keith Henley.
Help transcribe military pension files from the Revolutionary War!
Launching on June 22: Revolutionary War Pension Files Transcription Mission
In celebration of the 250th anniversary of American independence, the National Archives and the National Park Service are collaborating on a special project to transcribe Case Files of Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, ca. 1800 – ca. 1912. These Revolutionary War Pension Files consist of applications and other records pertaining to claims for pensions and bounty land warrants.
Related online exhibit highlight struggle for equal and civil rights
Records of Rights permanent exhibit explores the ongoing struggle of Americans to define, attain, and protect the ideals of freedom enshrined in our nation’s founding documents. The “Bending Towards Justice” section showcases the drive for civil rights for African Americans. Online curators’ tour here.