Constitution Day Celebration Tuesday, September 17, 2013, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission: FREE
Visit constitutioncenter.org/constitutionday for more information
Join the National Constitution Center as we kick off our calendar of civic holidays with the nation’s best Constitution Day celebration! We are the place to turn to fulfill your Constitution Day education requirements—at the museum and in the classroom.
On the anniversary of the Constitution’s signing in 1787, head to the National Constitution Center on Constitution Day, September 17, 2013 for FREE admission, plus an array of engaging educational programs, ceremonies, hands-on crafts, and special guests including Congressman John Lewis, civic activist Mary Beth Tinker, and humanitarian Gerda Weissmann Klein. Or commemorate this important civic holiday in your classroom with our interactive Constitution Hall Pass online video lesson, plus games, downloadable lesson plans, and other outstanding online resources available FREE at constitutioncenter.org/constitutionday.
At the Museum
• The Preamble Challenge, 8:30 a.m. Visitors, including students from Philadelphia’s Constitution High School, will be joined by civil rights icon and Georgia Congressman John Lewis for a stirring reading of the first words written in our nation’s founding document.
• Inaugural Flag Raising, 9 a.m. Join us as we unveil the National Constitution Center’s brand-new flagpole during a special flag-raising ceremony. The program will be attended by representatives from the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Sons of the American Revolution, who generously supported the installation of the flagpole.
Funding for installation of the flagpole was made possible through the sponsorship of Pennsylvania State Society Daughters of the American Revolution, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, Pennsylvania Society Sons of the American Revolution, and National Society Sons of the American Revolution.
• I Signed the Constitution, 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Visitors can check out our giant version of the United States Constitution and sign their names alongside Washington, Franklin, and Madison.
• Printing and Craft Activities, 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Visitors can explore a re-created Colonial print shop—complete with a replica printing press from the 1700s—where they can print a copy of the Preamble in the same way as the Constitutional Convention’s printers John Dunlap and David C. Claypoole. Plus, take part in arts and crafts projects, join in a calligraphy demonstration, and learn the copperplate script used to pen the Constitution.
• Eighteenth Century Lawn Games, 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Try your hand at graces, hoop and stick, nine pin, and other games popular in 1787.
• Pass the Citizenship Test Show, 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Do you know what it takes to become an American citizen? During this engaging program, you’ll learn about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and gain insight into our country and our freedoms.
• American National Tree Induction Ceremony, 10 a.m. One of the National Constitution Center’s most popular exhibits, the American National Tree spotlights 100 Americans whose actions have shaped constitutional history. Every Constitution Day, the museum adds a new individual to the exhibit. This year’s inductee is Hiram Rhodes Revels, the first African American to serve in the United States Congress.
Each year, the inductee is determined by the winner of a national student writing contest, the M.R. Robinson National Constitution Center American National Tree Award. The contest is held in partnership with Scholastic Inc. and the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers. The 2013 winning essay, “The Humble Giant,” was written by Sam K. Duffy of Collegiate School in New York, New York.
• Separation of Powers Show, hourly, 10 a.m., 11 a.m., and 3 p.m. This high-energy show explores how our Constitution limits government by separating powers—a truly revolutionary idea! Take part in an educational tug-of-war game between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches while learning about checks and balances.
• Naturalization Ceremony, 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Immigrants from across the globe will take the Oath of Allegiance to officially become citizens of the United States. The ceremony will feature a keynote address by Gerda Weissmann Klein, founder of Citizenship Counts, Holocaust survivor, 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, and proud naturalized citizen. Presiding will be the Honorable John R. Padova.
• Bill of Rights Show, 10:45 a.m., 12:45 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. Who wants to be a “Bill”-ionaire? In the Center’s fast-paced game show, visitors face off in a fun competition testing their Bill of Rights knowledge while an engaging host reveals the real deal about our amendments and freedoms.
• The Constitution’s Anniversary Celebration, 12 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. Enjoy a slice of cake and sing “Happy Birthday” to the Constitution’s signing. The celebration includes a special appearance by President George Washington, live music, and much more!
• Congressman John Lewis: The March for Civil Rights, 12:30 p.m. Kids and adults alike will have the special opportunity of engaging with civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis and co-writer Andrew Aydin as they introduce March: Book One—the first in a graphic novel trilogy that shares Congressman Lewis’ remarkable story with new generations. Book One spans Lewis’ youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their fight against segregation through nonviolent activism. A keynote speaker at the historic March on Washington in 1963, and a Medal of Freedom recipient from President Obama, Congressman Lewis will also explore today’s constitutional questions related to equal rights.
Guests of this event will receive a FREE copy of March: Book One. A book signing will follow the program at 1:30 p.m. Click here to see live stream of the event.
• Tinker Tour: The Power of an Armband, 1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Civic activist Mary Beth Tinker is taking her story to the streets and to the National Constitution Center on Constitution Day! The 1960s free speech icon from the Supreme Court’s “armband case” seeks to boost free speech awareness and civics education by telling her story to students and teachers across America on the Tinker Tour—a nationwide civic education bus trip. Click here to watch live stream of this event.
• Drones and Your Privacy, 2:30 p.m. How are constitutional rights and protections being tested in an age of rapidly changing technology? As law enforcement increases its use of drones, how do we strike a balance between personal privacy and public safety? On Constitution Day, join in this timely, critical conversation with the National Constitution Center’s President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen; Georgetown University Law Professor Carrie F. Cordero, Director of National Security Studies; and Penn Law Professor Claire Finkelstein, Director of the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law about the challenges of ensuring both liberty and security. Click here to watch a live stream of this event.
• Doma and Pa: Legal Showdown, 5:30 p.m. On the heels of the Supreme Court’s landmark DOMA decision, and Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s refusal to defend the state’s same-sex marriage ban, Philadelphia magazine editor Tom McGrath moderates a timely conversation representing both sides of the federal-state standoff. Click here to watch live stream of this event.
In the Classroom
Constitution Hall Pass: “Constitution Day 2013: The Legislative Branch”
Online video lesson and live chat: September 9-20, 2013 (live chat on weekdays only)
7 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST
Give your students a “hall pass” to travel through American history—without leaving the classroom! Constitution Hall Pass video lessons and live chats are a hit with millions of students and teachers nationwide. Our brand-new episode, “Constitution Day 2013: The Legislative Branch,” provides a behind-the-scenes look at how laws are made in the United States. Students will:
• Discover the debates and disagreements at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 that led to the development of a bicameral legislature
• Learn how Article I of the Constitution established the legislative branch and the role of Congress
• Explore the famous sites where Congress took shape including Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Federal Hall in New York City, and the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
• Understand how the law-making process works today, how members of Congress are accountable to "We the People," and the importance of civic participation
All you need is an internet connection to participate! Tune in at constitutioncenter.org/constitutionday
This program has been supported by The Hearst Foundation, Inc.