The National Archives Museum

The National Archives Museum

The National Archives Museum
4.5
10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
About
Repository where the most important historical documents of the United States are held, such as the original Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, Constitution and the 1297 version of the Magna Carta.
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The area
Address
Neighborhood: Federal Triangle
How to get there
  • Archives • 3 min walk
  • Federal Triangle • 6 min walk
Reach out directly
See what travelers are saying
  • kentonk33
    Minneapolis, Minnesota1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Guided tour the way to go!
    Great museum and our tour guide, Bess was the Best! We took our two teens and got in 15 minutes before anyone else did with Bess and got a great look at all the historical documents. When we done looking she told us the history behind the documents and we toured several other parts of the museum with her. I recommend going and getting a guided tour! We avoided a massive crowd. Thanks Bess!
    Visited March 2023
    Written April 3, 2023
  • tammye89
    Columbia, Missouri120 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing!
    Wow! To see these documents. If you love this time period in history, you have to see these. We did not book a time slot (they were booked weeks out), but, if you are pre-planning, get online and book a time. We were lucky (kind of). We were walking around and were just going to take our chances and check on the line that did not have pre-booked times (to the left of the booked times line). The first time, there was about 15 people. Line moves fast, don't let it discourage you. We get in (you have to go through security, it's pretty fast) and go to the Rotunda, where the documents are. They say there is no line, but there kind of is. We started to the left, all the documents lead up to the Declaration of Independence, and Constitution. To see their writing, and editing, it's amazing. But, there was a fire drill, and we had to evacuate. Went a second time, line was longer, but still fast. It's amazing! We did see on another day a line wrapped around the corner. Just make time to go by it a few times. It is SO worth it. We did see the other exhibits, I would do those last.
    Visited March 2023
    Written April 5, 2023
  • teknoge3k
    Rocky Mount, Virginia1,556 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fantastic place with amazing documents.
    We visited the Archives our last day in DC last week and it did not disappoint. Timed entry tickets are required. We breezed through security and got to see many important documents such as the Bill of Rights, Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Magna Carta and Emancipation Proclamation. Seeing some of the historic documents here was amazing and I highly recommend the Archives to anyone! The only complaint is they do not allow any photography inside of the building.
    Visited April 2023
    Written April 20, 2023
  • MstqMI
    1,325 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Important documents
    It was amazing to see and read these important historical documents. I also enjoyed reading about how and when we got our freedoms- women's rights, civil rights. The only issue was alot of high school teens milling around and most had no interest at all, they were on their phones or other devices.
    Visited May 2023
    Written May 19, 2023
  • Brian
    Lewisburg, Pennsylvania21 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Worth a visit
    We went at 4:30pm and there were not too many people there. The only downside is that some people stand in front of the documents for several minutes and you have to wait to get a glimpse. I wish the guards would usher people alone after a minute or two. Also, no photos! The number of people trying to sneak photos was ridiculous. The guards were constantly yelling at people to stop.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written June 28, 2023
  • phvi2617
    Anaheim, California553 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    The Charters of Freedom and more
    The National Archives Museum is most known for displaying the three Charters of Freedom. Even though much of the ink is faded (especially on the Declaration of Independence) it was awesome to see these immensely historical documents. There are also great exhibits about the role of the National Archives and sports in American life. It's important to know that there is no photography allowed in the entire museum. I visited on Independence Day in the late afternoon, and had no trouble getting in without a reservation. There weren't too many people inside, but it was a little crowded around the Charters in the Rotunda. This is really must-see if you're visiting DC!
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written July 29, 2023
  • Tracy H
    2 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing History
    We did not have time to see too many museums, so this one was our choice. It did not disappoint! The artifacts were incredible. The guard staff helped visitors see and recognize the signatures on the historical documents which kept the flow of people moving. The gift shop staff were helpful without hesitation and made good suggestions. We were pleased with the whole experience and our choice to see the United States National Archives!
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written September 23, 2023
  • Steph S
    Bristol, United Kingdom25 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    It’s a National Treasure
    Paid a quick visit to the Archives museum a couple of hours before it closed and found this to be a great time as there was no queue and we walked straight in. There are a couple of cool exhibits but of course the main attraction is viewing the Declaration of Independence and making all the appropriate National Treasure jokes along the way. That aside it’s the Declaration and a crucial part of America’s history so I can highly recommend taking the time to see it.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written October 9, 2023
  • montanapescado
    Albuquerque, New Mexico1,262 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Quality over Quantity
    The museum here is not extensive, but it really doesn't need to be. You come here for the biggies.... the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. A quick stop, but a real must for most American citizens. Be sure to see it once in your lifetime, but you probably won't need to go back.
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written November 18, 2023
  • Seamus
    Oakville, Canada1,474 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A Capital Gem
    One thing Americans get right is memorials and museums, and this attraction is right as rain. Not a large museum its significance, however, is unparalleled by any in the land. You know why you came: the only originals of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, working copies of the Bill of Rights, written amendments to all of these documents that form the USA’s foundation. Hugely impressive to us Canadians, this has to be instructive for all Americans. A special bonus for lawyers, as well, is the Rubinstein Gallery of Rights, featuring one of only 4 extant copies of the Magna Carta, the 13th century document establishing the rule of law. The interactive display beside is very instructive as well. And BTW, the cafeteria here is better than the one in the Natural History Museum. No advance tickets needed.
    Visited December 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written December 11, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles3,573 reviews
Excellent
2,312
Very good
887
Average
287
Poor
58
Terrible
29

Pia S
katy207 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
We went here in February when the crowds are small and it was still very hard to get to see anything. There really were no direction any where, and the staff weren't very friendly. You are not allowed to take any pictures at all, that may seems obviously but then you can take pictures in all the other museums in town. They keep telling you that you can't stand in line to see the displays but they don't do anything to move people ahead so you have to try to move in to see the display and then people get mad and think you are jumping the line. They should do like they do in England with the crown jewels they have narrow line and keep it moving so every one can get a change to see the displays. Also there really aren't anyone to answer any questions.Its interesting but with all the security you have to go through to get in I'm not sure if I would go again.
Written March 2, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Chris D
Athens, GA45 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2022
A required stop every time I visit DC. The most obvious reason being that the Archives house original copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. These are located in the rotunda on the second floor. Additionally, there are also several rotating exhibits located in the first floor galleries.

The one major complaint about the Archives is that chaos and disorder reign supreme, especially when the rotunda is crowded. There is little to no organization or management of crowds. The guards tell people that they can either take in all of the exhibits from left to right, or that they can go straight up to the three founding documents if they wish. This causes a major backup and delay for those who are attempting to take in the entire exhibit because those who are only there for the founding documents continually file in to the area for them. It would be more efficient to just have everyone pass through the entire exhibit and keep the line moving in a consistent manner.

Having read other reviews about the poor attitudes and service from the security personnel, I have to say that during our visit, they were very polite and accommodating. I am hoping that whatever issues may have existed with their engagement of the public have been resolved.
Written May 2, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

KKTraveler
26 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
Absolutely a must see in Washington! You can get timed tickets which is good for crowded times or just go in general admission line. Don’t miss the Magna Carta on lower level. Beautiful handwriting and medallion. If you know more details of history it is fun recognizing signers names, other than most familiar ones, on the documents.
Written February 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

bellevue1
Lynnwood, WA902 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2022 • Solo
Obviously, National Archives is a must visit when you are in DC. One thing i would like to mention is even when advanced reservation is no longer required, i strongly suggest you book your time in advanced. This will save you time in line for security check, especially during holiday weekend when line us super long.
I was 30 min early and was able to go in right away, bypassing those people in line.
It only coat $1, which is very worth it in my opinion.
Written May 31, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lynn S
League City, TX619 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2022
This was one of the highlights of our recent DC vacation. I didn't have the opportunity to visit here on my previous DC trip so I was very excited to go here and view the original founding documents of our nation. Here you can see the ORIGINAL Declaration of Independence (it is faded but you can still make out some of the words and you can definitely make out John Hancock's signature), Constitution and Bill of Rights. I was very thankful that a security guard announced to everyone that there wasn't a line and you could feel free to move around to view the documents, otherwise it might have taken a lot longer. They do not allow photography inside at all and while I understand why, that was a bit of a disappointment. The museum is not large and while you could spend several hours here, 1-2 hours is plenty.
Written June 9, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

GretchenDK
Montclair, NJ135 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2023
I only had a brief amount of time to visit this great institution so I focused mainly on seeing the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and The Bill of Rights, all located in the Rotunda. There were a lot of people visiting, mainly student groups. Upon entering you line up and the line is supposed to move around the semi-circle so people can see each display case. It did not work well as many of the students would congregate chatting and that made it harder for people to file around. I'm not sure why the security guards didn't tell them if they'd finished looking, to go back out into the foyer of the rotunda to wait for the rest of their class to finish. There were several guards there but they didn't say a word. This caused the line to back up. So if you think you can just run in and out to see those three main items, think again.
Written March 23, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sandy B
11 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021
Absolutely chilling experience to get to see the Declaration and other documents in person. Fantastic to see them. After reading the security comment from another reviewer, I will say that we had a fantastic experience compared to the other museums we visited. We were one of the first groups of the day, so I don’t know if that made a difference, but all the employees were very pleasant.
Written July 16, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mike J
20 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2019
The National Archives holds the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and US Constitution in one rather darkened room to protect the documents from fading - apparently one A Lincoln had them displayed in front of windows for 30 years so they have faded somewhat already. The guards do not take kindly to any light so don't even put your mobile phone on or they'll almost literally jump on you.
There is a queue to get in as numbers in the room with the documents are limited and the expected airport style security though the guards range from very jolly and friendly to downright miserable.
It's very interesting to be so close to these historical documents. There is also an exhibition about the archives and what they do etc.
Written March 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

justalittlebitocd
Melbourne, Australia410 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023 • Couples
we pre booked our ticket paying the $1 to skip the line so we walked straight in at our allocated time. NOBODY even checked our tickets. Anybody could have gone in that line and saved themselves a wait in a queue ​- lil tip there 😉​ ​😉​
​​
​​Look, it’s a bit chaotic in there. Some people opt to start left and work their way along the display boxes , some start right and others just push in from the back. It was a mess. I think this needed to be better managed .

We started at the left and slowly worked our way through the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights. Amazing history right there
​​
​​glad we went . Kinda felt surreal seeing those documents
​​
​​Took approx 30mins to 1 hour
Written June 28, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Keith T
Danville, CA143 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
Security is extremely tight here for obvious reasons. This has dramatically changed since I last visited 25 years ago when the world was a bit different. The documents are unbelievable to see including signatures of the founding fathers. The lighting, however is dim to protect the documents which have faded even when compared to when I last saw them in the 1990s.
Written January 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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