Constitution Day

Constitution Day

September 17, 2018

Do-Now Discussion

Would you have signed the Constitution in 1787? Why or why not?

On September 17, 1787, the Founding Fathers signed the most influential document in American history: the United States Constitution. This document established the framework of our government and the rights and freedoms that “We the People” enjoy today.

Every year, the National Constitution Center hosts the best Constitution Day Celebration in the country.  We are the place to turn to help you commemorate that historic day while meeting your federal education requirements.  Join us at the museum for outstanding and engaging programs or use our fantastic on-line resources in your classroom.

CONSTITUTION DAY IN THE CLASSROOM

Visit our Constitution Day website to find fantastic classroom resources:
constitutioncenter.org/constitutionday

Featured Resources Include: 

Interactive Constitution
Explore the best, non-partisan, interactive Constitution on the web, featuring explanatory materials for students in grades 8-12, written by the top constitutional scholars in the country from across the political spectrum—a must-have tool for every classroom!
Made possible by the generosity of the John Templeton Foundation and developed in partnership with the College Board.
constitutioncenter.org/constitutionday

Constitution Hall Pass
Give your students a “hall pass” to travel through American history without leaving the classroom! Our Constitution Hall Pass video lesson series has been watched by millions of students and teachers nationwide.  It’s also a three-time Telly Award winner for excellence in education. 

Constitution Day Live Chat
Our experts are answering all of your Constitution Day Questions!  Ask us about the Interactive Constitution, the Constitution Hall Pass videos, events at the museum, and more! Available during Constitution Week at constitutioncenter.org/constitutionday

Live Blog Constitution Day 2017

Celebrate at At the Museum

Every year, the National Constitution Center hosts the best Constitution Day Celebration in the country.  We are the place to turn to help you commemorate that historic day while meeting your federal education requirements.  Join us at the museum for outstanding and engaging programs or use our fantastic on-line resources in your classroom.

Museum admission is FREE on September 17, made possible by the Present Progressive Fund, though the Schwab Charitable Fund.

Special Events

Flag Raising Ceremony and Preamble Challenge
8:30 A.M., Front Lawn
To kick off the day, visitors can join the Sons of the American Revolution and the Daughters of the American Revolution for a patriotic flag raising ceremony and a live performance of the Star-Spangled Banner. To conclude the ceremony, National Constitution Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen will lead students in a rousing reading of the Preamble of the Constitution.

Judge Chats: The Courts in the Community
10 A.M. – 1 P.M., Bank of America Family Theater
Students and teachers can attend one of these great sessions with real judges, where they will have the opportunity to speak with experts on the interpretation of law and about how the Constitution can affect everyday life.

*This program is open to student groups, and advanced reservations are required. Speak to a Group Sales Representative at 215-409-6800.

Student Town Hall: Meet the Presidents
10 A.M., 11 A.M, Feature Exhibit Gallery
Visitors can participate in a special Student Town Hall with some very famous guests –George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt—who will discuss what Constitution Day means to them.
*This program is open to student groups, and advanced reservations are required. Speak to a Group Sales Representative at 215-409-6800.

Student Town Hall with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos
10:30 A.M., Sidney Kimmel Theater
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will discuss the significance of celebrating Constitution Day, discussing Free Speech on college campuses. She will also discuss the importance of civic education, the relevance of our founding document today, and her role as a member of the president’s cabinet and will take questions from students in the audience. 
*This program is open to student groups, and advanced reservations are required. Speak to a Group Sales Representative at 215-409-6800.
WATCH LIVE!

2018 Constitution Day Naturalization Ceremony
10:30 A.M., F.M. Kirby Auditorium
On Constitution Day, 50 immigrants from across the globe will take the Oath of Allegiance to officially become citizens of the United States. The Honorable John R. Padova, Senior U.S. District Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, will preside over the ceremony and Mayor of Philadelphia Jim Kenney will keynote. All of the new citizens will be given lifetime memberships to the National Constitution Center.
*Seating for this event is limited. Priority will be given to immigrants and their families.

The Constitution’s Birthday Celebration
12:15 P.M., Grand Hall Overlook
During the lunch hour, the museum offers cake (shaped and designed to look like the Constitution) and invites visitors to sing along to Happy Birthday and other favorite tunes to celebrate the anniversary of the Constitution’s signing. This celebration is complete with confetti and appearances by Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

Student Town Hall with Linda Monk
12:30 P.M., F.M. Kirby Auditorium
Join constitutional scholar, journalist, and nationally award-winning author Linda Monk, as she talks her new book, The Bill of Rights: A User’s Guide.  The book explores the remarkable history of the first ten amendments to the Constitution. 
*This program is open to middle school student groups, and advanced reservations are required. Speak to a Group Sales Representative at 215-409-6800.
WATCH LIVE!

Town Hall Program:  Why State Constitution’s Matter
3:30 P.M., F.M. Kirby Auditorium
Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and author of the new book, 51 Imperfect Solutions: States and the Making of American Constitutional Law, explores four constitutional debates — school funding, the exclusionary rule, eugenics, and mandatory flag salutes — to shed light on the importance of state courts and state constitutions in protecting liberty. Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, moderates.
Copies of 51 Imperfect Solutions will be available for sale before and after the program. You can also pre-purchase your discounted copy at checkout!
WATCH LIVE!

Additional Student Programming

Constitution Day Live Blog
7 A.M. – 6 P.M., Google Lab
Visitors can also join us virtually as our team of constitutional experts chat live with students and teachers across the country, answering all of their Constitution Day questions!

Constitution Day Classroom Exchanges
8 A.M. – 3:30 P.M., Bogle
The National Constitution Center is piloting the first Classroom Exchanges on Constitution Day, September 17, 2018. Participating students will have the opportunity to engage in a Constitutional Conversation with their peers from around the country by answering fundamental questions about the United States Constitution. Teachers who are selected to participate will receive supporting materials, including videos and lesson plans, as well as appropriate scholarly content, to prepare for their virtual exchange on September 17.

Constitution Day Games and Arts and Crafts
9:30 A.M. – 3:30 P.M., Front Lawn and Grand Hall Lobby and Overlook

  • Guests can check out our giant version of the U.S. Constitution and sign your names alongside Washington, Franklin, and Madison.
  • At Historic Character Meet and Greets, visitors can interact with famous figures from history, including from the reconstruction period, like Abraham Lincoln.
  • Outside, visitors can play graces, hoop and stick, nine pin, and other games popular from history.
  • Calligraphers will be on hand doing demonstrations and creating great souvenir bookmarks for visitors.
  • Visitors will also have the opportunity to step inside an actual voting booth to learn about the election process, and cast their vote for their favorite figure from Constitutional history!  In partnership with the Philadelphia City Commissioner’s Office.
  • There will also be great make-and-take craft projects for visitors to create!

Alexander Hamilton: The Early Life
10 A.M. & 12:30 P.M., Grand Hall Overlook
In conjunction with our newest feature exhibit, we are celebrating the life and legacy of Constitutional Convention delegate Alexander Hamilton.  Our special interactive lobby show introduces visitors to the story of Hamilton’s early life! Learn about his experience growing up in the Caribbean and his journey to the United States, his struggle to obtain an education, and his time as a Revolutionary soldier at the right hand of George Washington.

Pass the Citizenship Test show
10:30 A.M. & 1 P.M., Grand Hall Overlook
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.

Separation of Powers show
11 A.M. & 1:30 P.M., Grand Hall Overlook
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.

Bill of Rights show
11:30 A.M. & 2 P.M., Grand Hall Overlook
Who wants to be a “Bill”-ionaire? In the museum’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.

 

For more details about the Constitution Day festival, and for classroom resources, visit our Constitution Day Page!

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