The National Archives Building

In Reviews by Jeff McAllister

The National Archives Building recently underwent a major renovation project that would update the building and provide better access for people with disabilities.

It reopened to the public on September 18 of this year. Now everyone, no matter what their physical disability, can get up close with the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and the Bill of Rights (collectively known as the Charters of Freedom).

Now, the main entrance located on Constitution Avenue near 9th Street NW is wheelchair accessible, however the doors are not automated (something I plan on writing a letter about). Previously wheelchair users and those with mobility impairments were required to enter through a backdoor, which was kind of a mockery of freedom. Once inside, elevators can take you up to the Rotunda, where the Charters of Freedom are displayed.

The display area is quite an improvement over the previous version; before wheelchair users had to go up a steep ramp to get near the charters and even then all you can really see was the Declaration of Independence, from a distance. Now, wheelchair users can go right up to the charters and actually get pretty close (well, at least as close as everyone else). No ramps, thank God!