Sleepover at the National Archives
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Sleepover at the National Archives

October 16, 2019

music [fife & drums] What I want the kids to realize when they
are here tonight is that history is not a bunch of dates and facts that
you memorize, history is a selection process, and it chooses
every single one of us every single day, and the only question is
do you hear the call and I think tonight for all these families here,
they’re going to hear the call. I think kids especially, they don’t really think
about the past, they don’t really think about history, but it’s amazing when you
show them it, for some kids especially, you’ll see them light up
and they suddenly realize that so much of who they are comes from
where they come from and I think when you can give a kid that,
you give a kid a gift that they’ll never ever have a thing
quite like that, so that to me is the special part of it. The Archives are incredibly important source for
anybody doing any kind of historical research, and I do a great deal of historical research.
But it’s also wonderful for people all over America to come here to
see the documents that are the basis of our nationhood and everything else
interesting that’s going on here. I hope the kids just have a
wonderful time; if they come away saying “Wow”, history is really interesting
and really cool and I want to go and learn more of it, that would be perfect. music [flute duet] This is a fabulous night, look at this people
are coming in from all over the country to sleep on a cold marble floor!
But they clearly think that it’s fun and interesting and exciting, and
it is true that they will never forget this night. These kids will
remember, some of them will probably have interesting stories of the night that
they spent with the Constitution. music [fife & drums] The founding fathers loved chocolate! Did you
know that George Washington had 25 pounds of chocolate in his estate when he died?
25 pounds! The average American eats 25 pounds of
chocolate in a year. These kids will never forget tonight. Wherever
they go, whatever they’ll do, they will never forget we were the first ones who spent that night in the Rotunda, we slept
in the Archives, and they’re going to tell that story to their kids and those
kids, every time they think of this building, they are always going
to tell that story and we’re going to really in that way make history. So what are you personally looking forward
to most tonight? So here is what I am looking forward to most,
1) I want to see if my daughter makes it, because she was very excited to sleep here
here until my son said George Washington’s ghost is here,
and then my daughter said I don’t know if I’m going to make it the
night, so we will see if she makes it, so that’s a big one for us.
2) We’re sleeping with the Declaration of Independence and
the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, I mean, top that Smithsonian! Right, and
3) Tomorrow morning, myself and the Archivist of the United States
are making pancakes for everyone, and who could not be excited about pancakes?

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