History Snacks

Let’s Get Three-dimensional

At the National Archives, we love our paper records. From patents and pension records to letters and laws, you could say we have the market cornered for written history. We have so many emails that we make Google blush. But what you might not know is that besides billions of flat records, the National Archives also preserves objects to give you a view of history from all angles. So this week, we add depth to our newsletter with all things 3D!

P.S. Graduates of 2020: We have an unexpected celebrity commencement speech––Thomas Jefferson. This history-maker wanted to send you off with some inspiration of his own.

A Big Foot in the Archives

In addition to President Nixon’s speeches, orders and photographs, did you know the Nixon Presidential Library has a 200-million-year-old dinosaur track? That’s right, the impression was made from a track of a Eubrontes Gigantes—which would have stood approximately nine feet tall. It was made in 1970 by a teenage boy who had heard a news report about the discovery of dinosaur tracks in an abandoned quarry near his New Jersey home. He and his friend jumped on their bikes, went to investigate and uncovered thousands of fossilized dinosaur tracks.

When they launched a successful campaign to preserve the site as an education park, they earned an official commendation from President Richard Nixon. One of those boys, Paul Olsen, is today one of the nation’s foremost paleontologists, recently elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Image: Paul Olsen in front of the dinosaur footprint he sent to President Nixon nearly 40 years earlier.

[Learn More]

Presidential Locks

From the “mom saved everything” file, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library has President Roosevelt’s hair from when he was four years old. The blonde strands were tied with ribbon and saved in a box by the president’s mother, Sara Delano Roosevelt, in June 1886.

(Another) Bigfoot at the Archives

Speaking of familiar feet, we have an autographed shoe from basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq’s size 22 Reebok was a gift to President George W. Bush from Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan. The mayor presented the gift to President Bush in 2001 during his first visit to California as President. At the time, the basketball star was playing for the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Flying White House

Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, and you can actually step aboard the same Air Force One that flew President Reagan over 660,000 miles to 26 foreign countries and 46 U.S. states. This “Flying White House” served seven U.S Presidents, from President Nixon in 1973 to President Bush in 2001. Download these activities to test your knowledge of the airplane’s presidential history!

Air Force One 27000 is on loan from the United States Air Force.


Download Crossword Puzzle Download Word Search


Founding Father Thomas Jefferson Honors Class of 2020

Last Week and More

We want to bring our family fun to you. Click on an icon below to see content you may have missed and to learn more.

  • History Helpings
  • Fun Facts
  • Games

Want to be the first to know these fun facts from the depths of the Archives holdings? Sign up for our newsletter and get your weekly dose of history right in your inbox!

Join Newsletter

And if you have a favorite fun memory of the National Archives, or love history and just want to share, post on social media using #ArchivesAtHome and we’ll give you a shout-out!

The National Archives Foundation strives to inspire citizens to explore the past and cultivate a deeper understanding of their civic history and civic responsibility. Join the Foundation today and learn how you can help support our mission!