In charge of preserving documents of American legal or historical importance is the National Archives and Records Administration. The most popular items on display are the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, but the National Archives has plenty more to offer visitors. Visitors can see Lincoln’s telegrams to his generals, the Articles of Confederation, a Gettysburg battlefield map, the Declaration of War on Japan after the attack on Pearl Harbor and even the canceled check from the purchase of Alaska.
Options also include interactive exhibits and a theater where you can see documentaries. If you’re interested is research, the National Archives is open to you because the documents contained in the Archives belong to all American citizens.
- Only 1 to 3% percent of the documents produced by the United States Federal Government are important enough to be preserved by the National Archives forever.
- The National Archives were established in 1934, as the federal government decided documentation needed to centralized and preserved.
- In 1937, the Archives reported hat nearly 1,360,000 cubic feet of records should be put into their care.
- As the archives were organized, archivists realized many agencies had lost, misplaced or ruined important documents by not caring for them properly.