National Archives at Philadelphia
Exhibition and research facility of the official records of the American democracy
The National Archives enables visitors to see for themselves the records of what the government has done. Here are collections for all manner of agencies, including the Mint, NASA, the Marines, the Census Bureau, the Selective Service, the FAA, the Customs Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the little-known (and long abolished) Chemical Warfare Service.
Holdings are also useful for genealogy research. The gallery is found just off busy Chestnut Street, and it is dedicated to changing exhibitions drawn on the rich and varied archival collections. During a recent visit, a display about lighthouses featured Coast Guard drawings, photographs, maps and manuscripts.
Archivists measure their collections in cubic feet, and this archive has more than 50,000, dating from the 18th century to the 1990s. When federal courts and the vast array of federal agencies in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia no longer need their documents, they retire a select percentage here. What is kept has historic value and evidence rights of U.S. citizens.
Open Mon – Fri and some Saturdays. School-age children welcome with adult. Researchers need identification.
Free workshops on family history, genealogy, research in archives, and teaching history using archival documents, as well as tours of the facility, are frequently held. See their Web site or call for a schedule.
This building occupies the site originally occupied by the first White House, built when Philadelphia was the nation’s capital in the 1790s.
In the neighborhood
1 Dock St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
- Residence Inn Philadelphia Center City
- Philadelphia Marriott Downtown
- The Morris House Hotel
- Hilton Garden Inn Philadelphia Center City
- Holiday Inn Express
- Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District
- Rodeway Inn Center City
- Alexander Inn
- The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia
- View more hotels
Museums & Attractions
21 S. 5th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
- Physick House
- First Friday
- Franklin Square
- The Athenaeum of Philadelphia
- National Liberty Museum
- Elfreth’s Alley
- Starman in the Ancient Garden
- St. Stephen’s Protestant Episcopal Church
- The President’s House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation
- View more attractions
Restaurants & Dining
1113-31 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
- McCormick and Schmick’s
- Bank & Bourbon
- Capital Grille
- Fratelli’s Italian Bistro
- Reading Terminal Market’s Pennsylvania Dutch Festival
- Reading Terminal Market
- Banana Leaf
- View more Restuarants & Dining