The National Constitution Center is a nonprofit institution devoted to the United States Constitution and opened in 2003. Located on Independence Mall in Philadelphia, the center is an interactive museum and a national town hall for constitutional dialogue, hosting government leaders, journalists, scholars, and celebrities for public discussions (such as presidential debates). While the original Constitution is stored in Washington D.C., the center offers civic learning resources onsite and online.
The center was created by the Constitution Heritage Act which passed through the U.S. Congress. Approved in 1988 and signed by President Ronald Reagan, the act defined the National Constitution Center as "within or in close proximity to the Independence National Historical Park. The Center shall disseminate information about the United States Constitution on a non-partisan basis in order to increase the awareness and understanding of the Constitution among the American people." The center is at 525 Arch Street, a significant address chosen because May 25 (5/25) was the date that the Constitutional Convention began in Philadelphia.
Ralph Appelbaum Associates designed the center's visitor experience and exhibition spaces. The center is made of all American products, including 85000 sqft of Indiana limestone, 2.6 million pounds of steel, and a half-million cubic feet of concrete.
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