While New Year’s Eve revelers spray bubbly across the D.C. area next week, a more historically significant gathering will take place at the National Archives. The museum is hosting Watch Night, an annual event to honor the Emancipation Proclamation, which President Abraham Lincoln issued 150 years ago, on Jan. 1, 1863.
The museum will remain open until 1 a.m. in the early morning of Jan. 1 for viewings of the original Emancipation Proclamation. The fragile document, which can be displayed only for a few days each year, will be on view from Sunday until 5 p.m. on New Year’s Day.
For those planning to spend the final hours of 2012 at the National Archives, expect a ceremonial bell ringing at midnight to go along with choral groups and costumed reenactors. The museum reopens at 10 a.m. on New Year’s Day, but the first 100 people in line outside the museum by 8:15 can enter the museum early for a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation by Sweet Honey in the Rock founder Bernice Johnson Reagon at 9 a.m.
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