National Archives At Philadelphia

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National Archives At Philadelphia

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National Archives at Philadelphia: Unveiling America's History

The National Archives at Philadelphia is a regional facility of the United States National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) that serves as a repository for historical records and documents from the Mid-Atlantic region. From its vast collection of documents to its educational programs and research opportunities, the National Archives at Philadelphia offers an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the history of the United States.

A Treasure Trove of Historical Records

Established in 1933, the National Archives at Philadelphia is one of the 14 regional facilities operated by NARA. It is responsible for preserving and providing access to federal records from Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. The archives contain over 75,000 cubic feet of records, making it one of the largest repositories of historical documents in the Mid-Atlantic region.

The National Archives at Philadelphia is home to a wealth of information, including military records, naturalization records, census data, court records, and much more. It is a vital resource for historians, genealogists, researchers, and anyone else interested in exploring the past. Among the countless stories preserved within the archives, visitors can find documents related to pivotal moments in American history, such as the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights Movement.

Accessibility and Research Opportunities

The National Archives at Philadelphia is open to the public, and anyone can access the vast collection of records it houses. The archives are equipped with a research room where visitors can access microfilm, digital records, and original documents. Researchers can also request copies of documents to be mailed to them or download digital copies from the National Archives Catalog.

To help facilitate research, the National Archives at Philadelphia offers various resources and tools. Their knowledgeable staff is available to guide visitors and provide assistance in locating specific records. In addition, the archives offer a range of educational programs, workshops, and lectures aimed at fostering a deeper understanding of American history.

The Importance of Preservation

Preserving historical records is essential to understanding our past and shaping our future. The National Archives at Philadelphia plays a critical role in preserving the history of the Mid-Atlantic region by housing and protecting important documents for future generations to explore and learn from.

The National Archives at Philadelphia is also involved in various initiatives to make its collections more accessible and engaging to the public. Digitization efforts are ongoing, and the archives continually work to make more of their records available online. This not only broadens access to the archives but also helps to preserve the original documents by reducing the need for physical handling.

A Hub for Historical Events and Exhibits

The National Archives at Philadelphia is more than just a repository of historical records; it is also a center for cultural and educational events. Throughout the year, the archives host a variety of programs, including workshops, lectures, and special exhibits. These events are designed to engage the public and promote a deeper understanding of American history.

One of the most popular events at the National Archives at Philadelphia is their annual "Archives Month" celebration. Held each October, Archives Month showcases the rich history of the Mid-Atlantic region through special exhibits, workshops, and tours. This event draws visitors from all over the country and is a testament to the archives' commitment to preserving and sharing our nation's history.

Community Outreach and Partnerships

The National Archives at Philadelphia actively seeks to engage with the local community and foster a love of history. They have formed partnerships with local schools, universities, and organizations to create educational programs and resources that cater to a diverse range of interests.

For example, the archives collaborate with local educators to create lesson plans and resources that incorporate primary sources from the National Archives at Philadelphia. These materials provide students with firsthand accounts and historical documents to enhance their understanding of various topics, such as the American Revolution, the Civil War, and the struggle for civil rights.


Additionally, the National Archives at Philadelphia participates in outreach events and community initiatives to bring history to life outside of its physical location. They organize traveling exhibits, presentations, and workshops that are showcased in libraries, museums, and community centers throughout the region. These efforts ensure that people of all backgrounds and ages have the opportunity to engage with and appreciate the rich history preserved within the archives.

Preserving Democracy and Ensuring Accountability

Apart from its role as a repository for historical records, the National Archives at Philadelphia also plays a crucial role in preserving democracy and ensuring government accountability. The archives receive and preserve federal records from government agencies, ensuring their accessibility and safeguarding against the loss of valuable information.

These records serve as vital evidence and documentation of government actions, policies, and decisions. They provide transparency and accountability, enabling citizens to hold their government accountable for its actions. By preserving these records, the National Archives at Philadelphia reinforces the principles of an open and democratic society.

Inspiring Future Generations

The National Archives at Philadelphia holds the key to unlocking the past and inspiring future generations. Through its vast collection, educational programs, and community engagement, the archives foster a deep appreciation for history and the significance of preserving our nation's heritage.

Visiting the National Archives at Philadelphia allows individuals to connect with the past in a tangible and meaningful way. The ability to see and touch original documents brings history to life, making it a personal and immersive experience. Whether it's discovering an ancestor's immigration records, exploring the impact of pivotal historical events, or gaining insights into the development of our nation, the archives offer a unique opportunity to delve into America's story.


The National Archives at Philadelphia stands as a beacon of knowledge and preservation, safeguarding the historical legacy of the Mid-Atlantic region. Its extensive collection of records provides a window into the past, allowing researchers, historians, and the general public to explore the rich tapestry of American history.

With its commitment to accessibility, research opportunities, community outreach, and preservation, the National Archives at Philadelphia ensures that the stories and documents housed within its walls continue to inspire and educate future generations. By honoring the past, the archives help shape a brighter future by fostering a deep understanding and appreciation for the diverse and complex history of the United States.

So, whether you're a researcher seeking to uncover hidden gems or simply an enthusiast eager to explore the annals of American history, make sure to visit the National Archives at Philadelphia. Embark on a captivating journey through time, where the past comes alive, and the remarkable stories of our nation unfold before your eyes.

National Archives at Philadelphia – where America's history is boldly preserved for generations to come.

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