Exploring History

This past Saturday, a friend and I went to the National Archives. We weren’t expecting much more than a bunch of documents in drawers and the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, but what we found was a full-blown, interactive, museum type of atmosphere.

The Freedom Documents (Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights) were in a beautiful rotunda and protected in glass cases with guards surrounding each one. Just seeing these original documents made myself feel like I was Nicholas Cage in National Treasure attempting to steal them to solve some mystery that history buried.

The National Archive also had an exhibit that they called the Public Vaults. In here you could find original documents of Lincoln’s telegrams to his generals or digital documents dealing with the sinking of the Titanic. You could listen to radio addresses from Presidents such as FDR or Truman and watch speeches like Bush Sr.’s “I don’t like broccoli” speech. In one section you could listen to secret Oval Office recordings that were made public after the President left the White House.

There was not enough time for us to explore the rest of the Archives, and certainly a whole day could be spent just in this one building. Nonetheless, what we did come across was quite an experience in and of itself.