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Ways to Experience The National Archives Museum
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All reviews magna carta declaration of independence important documents original documents public vaults founding fathers on display timed entry american history rights rotunda faded security amendments exhibits foundation citizens
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Reviewed August 17, 2019

The three most important founding documents are located in this one space; you have to visit and see them. The timed-entry tickets will suffice, as they limit the number of visitors in the rotunda at one time. It will still be crowded, but you will get your turn up close and personal with each document. Reminder: it is a "viewing" not a "reading." If you try to stand there and read the entire document they will ask you to move along. Be kind to the other guests; view, soak it in, look for those signatures and great lines/passages, then move to the next. The morning guided tour is the best was to get the most of this site.

Date of experience: August 2019
4  Thank Traveling_The_World3
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 16, 2019

It is cool to see old copies of our important national documents and that’s all there is to it. The constitution, declaration, and bill of rights are in the second floor rotunda so go straight there. The text is not legible. Barely noticeable in places. An over 700 years old copy of the Magna Carta is first thing when you get through security on ground floor and is surprisingly good condition for its age. The rest of the exhibits have some interesting preserved documents but nothing compared to the big three in the rotunda. For tourists with a tight schedule, I would skip the Archives or only go if you see a short line. You can reserve a time for $1. The staff give very explicit instructions. They are nice but not to be trifled with. Don’t take your phone out and sneak a picture. Just don’t. It’s a jerk move. Not sure this is a museum kids will appreciate as much as the Smithsonians. An hour is more than enough time if you want to see everything. If line is short then hustle through to rotunda, check out the big three, and be out the door in 20 minutes.

Date of experience: August 2019
3  Thank Turner S
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 14, 2019

If you're seeing the DC sights on a time constraint, you can be in and out of this museum quickly. Go immediately to the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom on the second floor. The Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights are in the center of the arc, where the guards are standing. It's not a queue. you can go straight to the center and look at the historical documents right away. If you're in a hurry, that's all you need to see. The museum does have an especially nice gift shop, for what it's worth.

Date of experience: August 2019
4  Thank Debby H
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 11, 2019 via mobile

To see the actual original Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution is an awesome experience. They are well guarded and no photographs are allowed but the sights of them will say in my mind for a very long time. The historical displays depicting the founding fathers are well done. The Archives also has exhibits on our history with newspaper, film, and audio recordings of times and events. You could soend a day just exploring this fabulous museum.

Date of experience: August 2019
3  Thank FellowTraveler730578
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 8, 2019

I did not have this on my "must do" list while visiting DC, but thoroughly enjoyed this museum. I learned a lot too. The museum displays documents and tells the stories of important times in our history- independence from the ties of England, equal rights for women, military details from D-day and documents on the abolition of slavery to name a few. There are letters, political papers, logs and journals as well as interactive exhibits and video presentations. Information is provided on their methods for document preservation as well. The area where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution are kept is elegant and awe inspiring with sweeping ceilings, marble floors and artwork which really creates a sense of reverence. We went on a day when there was no line, but you can reserve a spot in advance for a convenience fee of $1 per ticket. There are tours once a day at 9 AM I believe, but need to be reserved in advance and fill quickly.

Date of experience: August 2019
2  Thank EmeraldBeach97
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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