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History, Heroes, & Treasures: Recap of the Rotunda Sleepover and Activities

by on February 25, 2014

Today’s post comes from Monica Reardon and Lauren Vick, interns in the Education and Public Programs division.

On Saturday, January 25, 2014, the National Archives in Washington, D.C. and the Foundation for the National Archives held the first-ever sleepover for children ages 8 to 12 years old in the home of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. The theme for the night was History, Heroes, & Treasures. Participants had a chance to explore the Rotunda, the Public Vaults, and the Boeing Learning Center through various activities related to the theme. Participants also had the opportunity to meet authors Cokie Roberts and Brad Meltzer as well as Abraham Lincoln, Phillis Wheatley, and Amelia Earhart, historical figures from their books.

Wondering where everyone slept? Check out this time-lapse video for a glimpse of sleep preparations in the Rotunda.

Would you like to see what’s held in the Rotunda yourself? Examine the Charters of Freedom (the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights) in our digital archive.

Some of Our Most Popular Activities from the Sleepover Can Be Done in Your Classroom:

  1. Create Your Own Campaign Materials
    You don’t have to be of voting age to support a candidate or issue that matters to you. Anyone can create their own campaign materials including buttons, posters, and stickers that champion a fight they care about. Students can channel their creativity into a political cause they care about, be it from the past or the present, a person or a cause. For some examples of some our favorite presidential campaign swag, check out these posts from our Tumblr sites:

  2. Write a Letter to the President
    Write a letter to the President of the United States, either as a class or an individual (and really send it!). Here at the National Archives we love the letters students have written to U.S. Presidents over the years. Check out some examples of these student letters from our holdings.

    Here some of our sleepover attendees experiment writing with quill pens, just like our earliest presidents!

    Sleepover attendees experiment writing with quill pens, just like our earliest Presidents!

Interested in joining us for our next sleepover at the National Archives? Take a glimpse of the fun on our Flickr page, and keep-up with the latest developments by signing up for the Foundation for the National Archives newsletter or e-mail the sleepover team directly through

Ready For More? Explore Our Student-Friendly Resources Available Online:

This program was supported by the Foundation for the National Archives; Mars, Incorporated; American Heritage Chocolate; Ridgewells Catering; Penguin Young Readers Group; HarperCollins; The Coca-Cola Company; Minute Maid; and DASANI.


Stuart Chandler February 25, 2014 at 5:03 pm

At the bottom of this post, there’s a link to research specific topics through our online “Public Access collection.” The link does not work. would you mind sharing the correct link?

Natalie February 25, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Hi Stuart. Here is the correct link: Sorry about that. I’ve also updated the link in the post. It should redirect properly now.

Lauren Vick February 26, 2014 at 10:11 am

Here is the link to the digital vaults that were also mentioned. They’re great for more interactive exploring and creating digital resources! :)

John Heyn March 3, 2014 at 10:44 am

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