The National Archives , Washington DC

The National Archives
Photo courtesy of the DC SHPO

The National Archives, occupied in 1935, is the repository of the more valuable and rare documents of this Government as well as a reference library. On display in the Exhibition Hall are the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights. By the 20th century, the need for a central repository was urgent, and the Public Buildings Act passed by Congress in 1926 appropriated funds for plans for acquisition of the site. Planned as a square with fountains by L’Enfant, this site was the location of the Marsh Market constructed in 1801 and known as Center Market following the Civil War. The seventh building to be constructed in the Federal Triangle, the Archives Building is a monumental structure designed in the 20th century Neo-Classical manner by John Russell Pope. Pope was also the architect for the Jefferson Memorial, Constitution Hall, and the National Gallery of Art. The Archives Building occupies a dominant position in the Federal Triangle as a focal point on the 8th Street Axis between the National Portrait Gallery (Old Patent Office) to the north and the Hirshhorn Museum to the south. Large pumps were built beneath the structure to safeguard the foundations from flooding by the Old Tiber Creek, whose bed runs under the building. The National Archives are located at 8th St. and Pennsylvania Ave., NW. Research hours are Monday and Wednesday from 8:45 am to 5:00 pm; Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 8:45 am to 9:00 pm; and Saturday 8:45 am to 4:45 pm. The Exhibit Hall is open every day except December 25. Winter hours are 10:00 am to 5:30 pm and summer (April 1 to Labor Day) hours are 10:00 am to 9:00 pm.