The main location of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is at 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. between 7th and 9th Streets in Washington, D.C. The Rotunda entrance is on Constitution Avenue and the research entrance on the opposite side of the building at Pennsylvania Avenue.
The National Archives Building is located between Seventh and Ninth Streets, NW, with entrances on Pennsylvania and Constitution Avenues. The Archives-Navy Station is the closest Metrorail stop.
Many of the physical records of the Archives are housed in the various regional locations around the country.
The Archives are open to the public at no charge and the D.C. Building is open from 10 AM to 7 PM from mid March through Labor Day and from 10 AM to 5:30 PM throughout the rest of the year. The Archives are closed for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
The Rotunda, known as the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom, is the permanent home the three documents drafted by the nation's Founding Fathers to set the course for the young country: the Declaration of Independence that was signed on July 4, 1776, announcing that the 13 colonies would secede from the British Crown; the Constitution of the United States, which was drafted in 1787, laying out the roles and general processes for the 3 branches of Government; and the Bill of Rights, the first Amendments to the Constitution drafted by James Madison and passed by the 1st U.S. Congress in 1789 and ratified in 1791 to legalize basic freedoms for individuals and prohibit the Government from infringing on those rights.
Another permanent exhibit at the Archives is the Public Vaults. The Vaults are designed to let the visitor feel that they have entered the interior or the National Archives. Presidential audio recordings from the Oval Office can be heard and telegrams from Presidents can be read in the Vaults. Over 1,000 original and replicas of records can be perused in the Vaults by visitors.
The Vaults are broken into five exhibits and the path connecting them shows the evolution of record keeping technology. The exhibits are based on themes of citizenship and family records, law and freedoms, war and diplomacy, expanding frontiers and pioneering activities and recordkeeping for posterity.
A Theater that seats roughly 300 people is also permanently showing a film about the National Archives except for an occasional break (twice a day) when it plays a movie on the Charters of Freedom documents on display in the Rotunda.
By night the theater is often home to documentary films on history as well as lectures and seminars on history, record keeping, the Archives itself and its mission.
There are also rotating and traveling exhibits and documents that are put on display at the National Archives making it a place that often has something different to see.
The National Archives also holds workshops for teachers and promotes the use of primary sources in education which it offers copies of to educators for use in the classroom.