Did you know that in 2004 Constitution Day was established as a federal observance to commemorate the U.S. Constitution and its legacy of freedom? This observance occurs each year on September 17, the day the Constitution was signed in 1787 and this year marks the Constitution’s 225th birthday.
The National Constitution Center in Historic Philadelphia plans to celebrate the 225th birthday of the U.S. Constitution in a big way, with FREE admission all day on Constitution Day and numerous events and activities leading up to it. America’s most interactive history museum, the National Constitution Center also offers a wealth of resources and programs that schools (and parents) can access to supplement their student’s curriculum surrounding the U.S. Constitution.
Ways You Can Help Celebrate Constitution Week:
- View the NEW Constitution Day episode of the National Constitution Center’s free webcast and live chat, Constitution Hall Pass: The Presidency, introduced by George Stephanopoulos.
- Visit the National Constitution Center on Constitution Day- admission is FREE.
- Sign a commemorative edition of the U.S. Constitution online here.
- Explore the link between civic engagement and employment by watching the 67th Annual National Conference on Citizenship streaming live at NCoC.net/live from 1:00-5:30pm on Friday September 14, 2012. The conference brings together civic leaders, educators, CEOs, and representatives from each branch of government to address issues related to our nations civic health. This year’s theme is “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: Exploring the link between civic engagement and employment”.
- Kick off Constitution Week at the daylong Family Fair from 10:00am to 4:00pm on the front lawn of the National Constitution Center. The event features the Center’s hit educational programs, musical performances, colonial-era games, historic interpreters, and more.
- Renew your civic vows and recommit to being actively engaged citizens during the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) sworn again ceremony on the Center’s Grand Hall Overlook. The ceremony begins at 2:15pm on Saturday September 15 following a festive parade.
- Participate in one of the many hands-on activities throughout Constitution Week from Sunday, September 16 through Sunday, September 23 in the Grand Hall Lobby.
Here are some examples:
- Visit the Center’s old-fashioned print shop and print a copy of the Preamble in the same way Claypool and Dunlap did when they printed the Constitution.
- Join in calligraphy demonstrations and learn about the Copperplate technique used to pen the official handwritten Constitution.
- Add your signature next to those of the Founding Fathers on a giant version of the U.S. Constitution, or sign a special commemorative 225th anniversary Constitution on display in Signers’ Hall.
- Put your knowledge to the test with the fast-paced “Bill of Rights” game show and high-energy “Separation of Powers” show, which teaches students about the three branches of government.
There’s so much going on and so many ways to participate in the celebration, it’s hard to list them all here. The biggest highlight of all is happening on Monday, September 17- Constitution Day, when admission to the Center is FREE. PwC is the presenting sponsor of the Center’s Constitution Day activities, educational materials, and free admission to the public.
A Few Highlights from Monday’s Events:
- Reading of the Preamble to the Constitution by 225 students at 8:45am on the Center’s front lawn.
- Public Naturalization Ceremony at 10:30 am where 50 immigrants will take the Oath of Citizenship.
- Enjoy a slice of cake during the patriotic Anniversary Party at 12:15pm on the Grand Hall Overlook with appearances by Presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. Rocco Fiorentino, a 15-year old blind singer and advocate from Voorhees, NJ will lead the crowd in a stirring rendition of “God Bless America”.
- There will be also be discussions, award presentations, a 15-foot live floral art “pop up” display by Schaffer Designs, and a civics fair in the Center’s lobby.
For an entire list of the day’s onsite activities visit the National Constitution Center website.
For educators: The National Constitution Center continues to serve as the nation’s premier resource for education on the Constitution through its Constitution Day website.
An interactive site, it includes:
- Educational tools and lesson plans
- Online versions of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ naturalization test
- Video clips of Constitution Day events at the Center,
- Previous Constitution Hall Pass episodes
- “Which Founder Are You?” quiz, which allows users to compare their personality traits with those of the men who wrote the Constitution
All of these tools and more will help you fulfill the national mandate requiring all schools receiving federal funding and all federal agencies to provide constitutional education on or around September 17.
How will you celebrate Constitution Day? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook Page.