The Story of We the People

Through hands-on, multimedia exhibits and a rotating collection of rare artifacts, The Story of We the People brings America’s constitutional history to life. Step inside and be moved by what it means to be American.

The Story of We the People, the National Constitution Center’s main exhibit, guides visitors through milestones in America’s history and reveals how the U.S. Constitution is as important today as it was in 1787.

Located in the Richard and Helen DeVos Exhibition Hall, the exhibition feature three concentric rings of interactive exhibits. The circular shape of the exhibition was chosen, in part, to reflect the enduring presence and influence of the U.S. Constitution.

Exhibit highlights:

  • View fascinating artifacts, including a rare copy of the Emancipation Proclamation.
  • Engage with interactive touch screens at the American National Tree exhibit to learn about 100 citizens who have shaped America’s constitutional history.
  • Watch yourself on the big screen as you recite the Presidential Oath of Office.
  • Check out Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s actual Supreme Court robe and weigh in on famous cases.
  • Experience the Living News theater performance, which brings today’s headlines from the page to the stage and encourages audience dialogue.

Please note: Artifacts are rotated and subject to change. Artifacts also need to rest periodically and might not be on display at the time of your visit.

Daily Museum Programs

Throughout The Story of We the People, visitors can take part in daily museum programs led by our education staff.

Educational Resources

School groups will receive copies of our student guide, The Path to Responsible Citizenship. Guides are available for elementary, middle, and high school students.

The museum offers a variety of lesson plans, activities, and other educational resources to help you make the most of your visit. Plus, our exhibits and programs are aligned with state and national standards so you can connect your NCC field trip with your classroom curriculum.

Check out our Guide to Standards-Aligned Exhibits & Programs to learn more.

Artifact Spotlight

Abraham Lincoln Signature from Gettysburg, 1863

Abraham Lincoln Signature from Gettysburg, 1863

This is the only known signature of Abraham Lincoln from the day he delivered his famous Gettysburg Address. It was collected in an autograph book used to gather the signatures of dignitaries attending the dedication ceremony of Gettysburg National Cemetery on November 19, 1863.

On loan from the Lewis Katz Irrevocable Trust dated June 12, 2003 for the benefit of Ethan, Brooke, Taryn and Remi Silver.

“March on Washington” Button, 1963

“March on Washington” Button, 1963

On August 28, 1963, buttons like this were distributed at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, organized to pressure the Kennedy administration into passing civil rights legislation. More than 200,000 demonstrators, gathered at the Lincoln Memorial, heard Martin Luther King Jr., deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech.

Museum of American Political Life, University of Hartford

World Trade Center Wreckage, 2001

World Trade Center Wreckage, 2001

This mangled, steel I-beam is from the World Trade Center. The September 11, 2001, attacks killed thousands and raised, yet again, the issue of balancing national security and civil liberties.

National Constitution Center Collection, Gift of the City of New York

Light-sensitive artifacts need to rest periodically and might not be on display at the time of your visit.
 

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