The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is an independent agency which preserves and documents government and historical records. NARA is the nation’s record keeper. NARA determines which documents and materials are so important for legal or historical reasons and preserves those documents. Such records are preserved and made available to the public. NARA is responsible for publishing and maintaining copies of presidential proclamations, executive orders, federal regulations and acts passed by Congress.
NARA was created in 1934 by Congress to centralize federal record keeping. Later, in 1985 Congress established NARA. NARA administers regional archives, federal records centers, presidential libraries, the Federal Register, and the National Historical and Publications Commission.
The National Archives Building located in Washington, DC is visited by more than one million people each year. Visitors go to see the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and other historic documents and also for conducting historical research.
The Archivist of the United States is appointed by the President and is the head of the NARA. Archivists preserve the original material and maintain records which are in the form of paper documents, photographs, films, maps and computer records.
Being the nation’s record keeper, NARA’s vision is to inspire all Americans to explore their country’s records.