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American_flagRISMEDIA, October 2, 2009—(MCT)—The signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787, is one of the most significant events in American history. It established the many rights and freedoms that we enjoy today. Here are five places where you can learn about this historical document and those who made it happen. 

1. The National Constitution Center, Philadelphia.
This innovative museum within the Independence National Historical Park is dedicated to increasing awareness about the Constitution and its relevance in the lives of today’s Americans. Visit the American Experience to learn the history of the Constitution through more than 100 family-friendly, interactive exhibits. Don’t miss Signer’s Hall where you can stand among 39 life-size bronze statues of those who signed the document, as well as the three dissenters.

2. Mount Vernon, Va.
Learn about Constitution signer and President George Washington during a visit to his magnificent, 500-acre estate. Families will gain an appreciation of 18th-century life through live performances, guided tours and historical presentations on this working plantation. Families receive a colorful map with the purchase of a youth or child’s admission. It guides children around the estate in a quest to solve nine puzzles by exploring outbuildings and the mansion.

3. Franklin Institute Science Museum, Philadelphia.
Benjamin Franklin, the oldest signer of both the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, became famous as an insatiably curious scientist, inventor, statesman, printer, philosopher, musician and economist. Learn more about his remarkable life by visiting this museum that includes an IMAX theater, planetarium and innovative science programs and exhibits inspired by Franklin’s life and work.

4. The National Archives, Washington.
The National Archives has been our nation’s record-keeper for 75 years. Inside, the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom is the permanent home of the Constitution as well as the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. These documents have secured the rights of Americans for more than two centuries. The whole family will enjoy seeing and learning about them firsthand.

5. Federal Hall National Memorial, New York.
This Big Apple memorial played an important role in our early history. It was in this Wall Street location that George Washington was inaugurated as our first president. The first Congress met here and wrote the Bill of Rights. The Supreme Court and executive branch also called this site home. Children learn about this unique site through a series of activities and can become Junior Rangers.

(c) 2009, The Dallas Morning News.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.