News Article

National Archives Welcomes 100 Guests to First-Ever Rotunda Sleepover

January 1, 2014

The National Archives and the Foundation for the National Archives hosted the first-ever sleepover at the Archives on Saturday, January 25, welcoming 8- to 12-year-olds and their grownups to the home of the  Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.

About 100 children and adults carrying sleeping bags were greeted by a fife and drum band in the National Archives Museum’s new orientation plaza and spent an exciting evening with award-winning author and History Channel host Brad Meltzer, journalist and author Cokie Roberts, and historical interpreters portraying Abraham Lincoln, Phillis Wheatley, and Amelia Earhart.

National Archives Rotunda Sleepover

Participants decoded Civil War ciphers, wrote letters to the President, learned to use quill pens, dressed up in historical costumes and scoured the museum’s “Public Vaults” exhibition for answers to a scavenger hunt among the Archives’ records.

National Archives Rotunda Sleepover

Meltzer and Roberts signed their new children’s books and joined sleepover guests for the screening of Oscar-nominated short films in the Archives’ William G. McGowan Theater before rolling out their sleeping bags.

National Archives Rotunda Sleepover

After a night sleeping in the Archives Rotunda and Rotunda Galleries, campers were greeted by Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero who joined Meltzer in flipping pancakes for breakfast.

National Archives Rotunda Sleepover

Participants also played Archives trivia and joined an interactive demonstration on how hot chocolate was made in colonial times, using American Heritage Chocolate.

National Archives Rotunda Sleepover


All child participants received a copy of Meltzer’s new children’s books, I am Abraham Lincoln, and I am Amelia Earhart, courtesy of Penguin Young Readers Group, as well as a copy of Roberts’ book, Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies, courtesy of HarperCollins.

See more images from the first-ever Archives Sleepover on Facebook or Flickr!

This program was supported by the Foundation for the National Archives; Mars, Incorporated; American Heritage Chocolate; Ridgewells Catering; Penguin Young Readers Group; HarperCollins; The Coca-Cola Company; Minute Maid; and DASANI.