The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) <archives.gov> welcomed its millionth visitor of 2005 Sept. 29. At 1:15 p.m., Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein greeted 23-month-old Ariya Shah with a balloon bouquet-eliciting a smile and a “Wow!” She and her parents, in town from Austin, Texas, for a conference, were about to head for the airport, but decided to drop by the Archives to see the Constitution.
The Shah family is part of a trend: Visitors at NARA are up 40 percent over last year-and people are staying longer, too. Surveys taken before the 2004 renovation of the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom found 13 percent of visitors stayed more than an hour. Last year, another survey saw that figure jump to nearly 50 percent. You can pay a virtual visit to NARA’s exhibits at <archives.gov/ national-archives-experience>.
From the February 2006 issue of Family Tree Magazine.