News Article

National Archives Celebrates 50 Years: Soledad O’Brien to Host Virtual Archives July 4th

June 15, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On July 4, 2020, the National Archives along with its nonprofit partner the National Archives Foundation will host a virtual July 4th celebration and related educational programming

For 50 years, the National Archives has hosted a reading of the Declaration of Independence at its iconic home in Washington, D.C., to celebrate the founding of the United States. This year, the National Archives will lift the words of the Declaration of Independence off of its well-worn parchment and bring them to homes across the country through this virtual program.

Host and narrator Soledad O’Brien will capture the patriotic spirit of the occasion and allow Americans across the country to take part in the Archives celebration. 

Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero stated: “244 years ago, our founding fathers declared our independence and mutually pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor. Today, as in 1776, we face fear, uncertainty, and challenges to our lives, economy, and general welfare. Throughout our history, as a nation united, we have confronted and overcome such threats. Let us continue to stay united as we strive for a more perfect –and more healthy –union.”

The program will include the Declaration of Independence reading ceremony complete with reenactors representing Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and John Adams, as well as a day of live educational programming featuring those historical reenactors teaching the importance and providing greater understanding of the founding of our nation. 

Our Archives 4th of July program is always special to our guests and the entire Archives Museum family,” said James J. Blanchard, Chair and President of the National Archives Foundation Board. “This year, during these difficult times, our virtual program will be shared with millions more Americans and inspire all of us to renew the American dream.” 

The National Archives education team will host a series of programming leading up to and beyond the July 4th celebration entitled, Virtual Journey of the Declaration of Independence educational program series on the @USNatArchives Facebook page. For the full schedule of programs from June 11 through August 2, visit

The virtual July 4th Schedule will be as follows

  • 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. EST July 4th family programming including welcome remarks from Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero, a discussion with Thomas Jefferson and other historical reenactors, and educational activities. Register here. 
  • 4:00 p.m. EST July 4th ceremony airs on and the @USNatArchives Facebook page.

“In our 16th year supporting the National Archives July 4th celebration, we at John Hancock believe in the special tradition of celebrating our nation’s heritage with the institution that houses the very documents America was built upon,” said Thomas E. Samoluk, Vice President & Counsel for External Affairs and Investigative Services at John Hancock. 

National Archives July 4th events are free and open to the public. For more information, please visit

“AARP is committed to the important work of the National Archives in telling America’s story––starting first and foremost with its founding,” said Kevin Donnellan, Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff for AARP.  “As we face unprecedented challenges this year, July 4th will be an important celebration of our country and its relentless citizenry throughout history.” 

For more information, contact Mattie Gainer:

July 4th at the National Archives is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation with the generous support of John Hancock and AARP.


About the National Archives Foundation

The National Archives Foundation is an independent nonprofit that increases public awareness of the National Archives, inspires a deeper appreciation of our country’s heritage, and encourages citizen engagement in our democracy. The Foundation generates financial and creative support for National Archives exhibitions, public programs and educational initiatives, introducing America’s records to people around the U.S. and the world. Learn more at

About the National Archives

The National Archives and Records Administration is an independent federal agency that serves American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our Government, so people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. The National Archives ensures continuing access to the essential documentation of the rights of American citizens and the actions of their government. From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people. The agency supports democracy, promotes civic education, and facilitates historical understanding of our national experience. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries and online at