Past Exhibits

Obama, his daughters, and Jihad Douglas at turkey pardon ceremony, 2015

Featured Document Display: Thanksgiving: Historical Perspectives
In commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the 1621 harvest celebration, explore some lesser-known perspectives of the federal Thanksgiving holiday.

Gone to Blazes Cover (detail)

Featured Document Display: 150 Years Ago: The Great Chicago Fire
The Great Chicago Fire is one of the most famous fires in American history. The conflagration consumed over 17,000 structures, left an estimated 300 people dead, and one-third of the city’s residents homeless.

September 11 Recovery Program, Letter from Tenisha, detail

Featured Document Exhibit: Remembering 9/11
A collection of children's letters that reveal some of the ways that America's youngest citizens reflected and responded to the deadliest terrorist attack in U.S. history.

Photograph of Apollo 15 astronaut James B. Irwin, lunar module, and lunar roving vehicle, August 1, 1971 (detail)

Featured Document Exhibit: 50th Anniversary of Apollo 15 and the Lunar Roving Vehicle
Almost three years to the day after Neil Armstrong’s giant leap for humankind, Apollo 15 astronauts took the Lunar Roving Vehicle for its first spin on the Moon.

Emancipation Proclamation (Page 5) cropped

Featured Document Display: The Emancipation Proclamation and Juneteenth
The freedom promised in the Emancipation Proclamation was finally delivered to 250,000 people who remained enslaved in Texas two and a half years after President Lincoln’s historic proclamation and two months after Union victory in the Civil War.

Hayden Survey en route

Featured Document Display: The First National Park: Yellowstone and the Hayden Survey
Scientist, physician, and explorer Ferdinand V. Hayden is credited with spurring Congress to make Yellowstone the first National Park. 

Photograph of people standing amid rubble in the Greenwood District, June 1, 1921

Featured Document Display: Black Wall Street: 100 Years Since the Tulsa Race Massacre
The Tulsa Race Massacre was the first time the Red Cross mobilized to provide relief outside of a natural disaster.

Group portrait of 65th congress, 1917-1919 (detail)

Featured Document Display: First Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin
Four years before ratification of the 19th Amendment secured American women’s constitutional right to vote, Jeannette Rankin became the first woman elected to Congress.

Swearing-in ceremony for first female Surgeon General Antonia Novello

Featured Document Display: 150 Years of the Surgeon General
To many Americans, the Surgeon General of the United States is the “nation’s doctor,” but it was a very different job 150 years ago.

Detail of Washington's Inaugural Sesquicentennial 1789-1939

Featured Document Display: George Washington's First Inaugural Address
George Washington set many precedents as the first President of the United States, beginning on the day he took office.