Completed: 29. Attend the National Archives Sleepover
If you haven’t heard, the National Archives, home of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, hosts a sleepover every few months during which attendees unroll their sleeping bags and camp out in the rotunda next to these important, historic American documents.
Watch this video to get a feel for the evening:
Unfortunately for me, a childless 33-year-old, these events are only open to children and one adult per group of four children.
I suspected I wouldn’t be able to attend in the traditional way when I jotted this onto my list last year, but there are always ways to get around these rules if you’re creative (remember when I was “knighted“?)
Given these limitations, I reached out to the volunteer coordinator to see if I could volunteer my way in. It’s amazing what you can get into when you offer to do something for free. I attended an in-person training, filled out forms, read some documentation, and became an official Archives volunteer and scheduled to volunteer for the Saturday shift (no sleeping over) for the first 2017 sleepover.
Plus, I got this fly Constitution shirt…
I was assigned as greeter, which was a lot of fun being able to witness all of the children bursting into the building with excitement. Some of the die-hard children, bless their hearts, were dressed up as historic figures. One boy was wearing a top hat like Abraham Lincoln. Another girl was dressed as Betsy Ross.
Let these kids be kids for as long as possible, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
As the families were settling in, I went upstairs to my next assignment. I was responsible for administering one of the games.
On my way to my station, I was able to walk through the rotunda with the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights by myself. This is a rare experience considering how packed this area is during business hours. What a dream.
After a few hours of gaming, freely roaming the museum, and a presentation with author Kathleen Krull, it was time for bedtime. It was also my time to exit. No sleeping over for the volunteers.
I had a great time witnessing all of the joy in these kids’ faces as well as being blown away by how much of an awareness they have about parts of American history that I doubt many adults even know about.
Keep that curiosity and remain passionate.
If you have kids interested in history, they would absolutely love this experience. Sign them up right now.
I didn’t get to officially sleep over, but I got as close as I could get without chaperoning or having children. That counts.