Amending America

Amending AMERICA

On March 11, 2016, the National Archives will open a new exhibition, Amending America. Featuring more than 50 original documents from the National Archives, this exhibit highlights the remarkably American story of how we have amended, or attempted to amend, the Constitution in order to form "a more perfect union." 2016, marks the 225th anniversary of the Bill of Rights, written in 1789 and ratified on December 15, 1791. The original Bill of Rights, on permanent display in the National Archives Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom, is still closely connected to the biggest issues of today—and to each of our citizens.

Amending America is free and open to the public, and will be on display in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery of the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC, through September 4, 2017. Amending America is presented in part by the National Archives Foundation through the generous support of AT&T, HISTORY®, and the Lawrence F. O'Brien Family.

It is possible to amend the Constitution – but it’s not easy. Only 27 times—out of more than 11,000 tries—has Congress reached consensus to amend the Constitution. Amending America pulls back the curtain on this fascinating process and shares highlights from 225 years of renegotiating our fundamental governing contract. The 3,000 square foot exhibit includes petitions, interactives, landmark documents, and political cartoons addressing issues including child labor, prayer in schools, free speech, suffrage, civil rights, and more.

Learn about some of the 11,000 proposed (but not ratified) amendments including:

Additional exhibit highlights include:

Amending America is divided into 4 sections:

Visitors to Amending America will discover answers to the following questions:

The National Archives Museum is located on the National Mall on Constitution Ave. at 9th Street, NW. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, except Thanksgiving and December 25.

Related online resources from the National Archives Center for Legislative Archives
The Center for Legislative Archives is the unit within the National Archives that preserves the official records of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. "Congress Creates the Bill of Rights: Completing the Constitution," created by this office, outlines the relationship between the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Available online.