Editors' Picks

National Archives

Constitution Ave. (7th & 9th Sts.) washington dc


See Website

Filmmaker Ken Burns calls this building “our national attic.” In addition to housing America’s Charters of Freedom—the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights—it contains 9 billion historical records, including scientific documents, patents and family histories. A visit here starts with a short, well-done film about the practical applications of the archives, including how they were used to break the Nazi-gold story a few years ago. The Big Three are housed in the rotunda, where they are kept under low light for preservation; be prepared for a long line if you want to see them up close. There are also interesting exhibits, including letters from ordinary Americans to government officials. My favorite: a missive from a man returning $1 in cash to the Treasury to make up for an extra loaf of bread he took as a soldier during the Civil War thirty-six years earlier. The Archives make a wonderful pair with the Newseum.

Written by Eliza Harris

What's Nearby
Indagare employees walking up stiars

Enjoy 30 Days On Us!

Start your Self Planner
membership trial today.

Unlock access to 2,000+ first-hand hotel reviews, 300+ Destination Guides and the most up-to-date travel news and inspiration.

Already a member?

Welcome back,
log in to Indagare

Not a member?

Forgot Password

Enter your email and we’ll send you a link to reset your password.

Type the first 3 letters to begin