Monday, Dec 18, 2006
On December 14th, Federal Hall National Memorial and Museum of American Constitutional Government, located on Wall Street in New York City, commemorated Bill of Rights Day with the help of its partners. Federal Hall stands on the site of the inauguration of George Washington, the ratification of the Bill of Rights, and the first government of the United States.
The morning began with the unveiling of New York stateâs ratification of the Bill of Rights, on view for the first time in 217 years. This prized document is the capstone of a new temporary exhibition, New York: An American Capital, presented by the National Archives and Records Administration. The exhibit highlights key documents relating to New York and American history from the National Archives collection.
Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Chief Archivist of the United States Alan Weinstein, Deputy Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett and Foundation for the National Archives Board President Tom Wheeler spoke about the significance of the ratification document and the Bill of Rights before the documentâs unveiling.
After the dedication of the exhibit, the Department of Homeland Security Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services conducted a swearing-in ceremony for new citizens. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection color guard opened the ceremony, which was held in Federal Hallâs Greek Revival rotunda. Following their induction, the new citizens were treated to a reception provided by The Foundation for the National Archives and photos with a George Washington re-enactor, who led them in the Pledge of Allegiance two dozen feet from where George Washington pledged his allegiance to the United States as our first President in 1789.
New York: An American Capital is the first product of a new partnership between the National Archives and Federal Hall National Memorial. Acting Superintendent of Manhattan Sites Sean McGuinness quoted George Washington in his introductory remarks: âAssociate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.â With this sentiment, McGuinness summed up the aspirations of this budding partnership, and the esteem that the National Park Service holds for its partners.
The Foundation for the National Archives, with support from the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy, has launched a fundraising campaign for a new museum, The National Archives Vaults at Federal Hall, to be opened in 2009.