Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery

"BIG!" 75th Anniversary Exhibit Opening


On exhibit at the National Archives Building, Washington, DC
March 13, 2009 - January 3, 2010

To celebrate a big anniversary—our 75th—the National Archives presents this exhibition featuring big records, big events, and big ideas. With the computer age in full swing, as viewers struggle to see documents and records reproduced on screens growing ever smaller, we present the original record shown in its full-scale glory.

Starting with the 13-foot scroll of the Articles of Confederation-the first constitution of the United States-the items here evoke the challenges, sacrifices, and even humor that are woven into the American tapestry. Among the items are a section of an enormous map of the Gettysburg battlefield; a design proposed for the Lincoln Memorial; and the 1941 tally sheet of the votes in the House of Representatives (388 to 1) to declare war on Japan after the attack on Pearl Harbor. "BIG!" presents the order for the enormous bathtub custom-made for America's biggest President; and the gigantic shoe owned by a powerhouse of an American athlete.

Finally this exhibition pays tribute to an idea so big it engendered the birth of this nation. Produced during the night of July 4-5, 1776, the first printing of the Declaration of Independence, presented in this gallery, affirms an eternal truth about freedom in words that resound through the ages and throughout the world. It is one of the National Archives' greatest treasures.

On the 75th anniversary of this institution, the National Archives presents BIG!—pieces of the American story—writ large.
(Also see article about the BIG! exhibit online.)

Visiting the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery