[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 146 (Friday, July 31, 2009)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 38153-38154]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-18461]



36 CFR Part 1280

[FDMS Docket NARA-09-0003]
RIN 3095-AB60

Photography in Public Exhibit Space

AGENCY: National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

ACTION: Proposed rule.


SUMMARY: The proposed rule limits the use of film, photographic, and 
videotape equipment inside the National Archives Building in 
Washington, DC. Filming, photographing, and videotaping will be 
prohibited in exhibits of the National Archives Experience (NAE) in 
Washington, DC, including the Declaration of Independence, the 
Constitution, and the Bill of Rights (known as the Charters of Freedom) 
in the Rotunda of the National Archives Building. In 2003 NARA 
installed new

[[Page 38154]]

exhibit cases for displaying the Charters and other NAE documents to 
provide better clarity for viewing the exhibits. NARA seeks to ensure 
the necessary protection for the documents from the cumulative effects 
of photographic flash.

DATES: Comments are due by September 29, 2009.

ADDRESSES: NARA invites interested persons to submit comments on this 
proposed rule. Comments may be submitted by any of the following 
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Fax: Submit comments by facsimile transmission to 301-837-
     Mail: Send comments to Regulations Comments Desk (NPOL), 
Room 4100, Policy and Planning Staff, National Archives and Records 
Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001.
     Hand Delivery or Courier: Deliver comments to 8601 Adelphi 
Road, College Park, MD.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Marilyn Redman at 301-837-1850 or fax 
number 301-837-0319.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In order to secure and protect all documents 
on display in the National Archives Experience (NAE) from unnecessary 
exposure to the harmful effects of flash photography and to improve the 
overall visitor experience, NARA is proposing to ban all photography 
from exhibit areas in the NAE. The 2003 renovations to the Rotunda 
exhibit area included the installation of new exhibit cases, which were 
designed with special glass with high clarity and no colored filters, 
to improve the ability to see the documents on display. The new display 
cases provide little protection from the damaging effects of 
photographic flash. While NARA staff goes to great lengths to adjust 
the Rotunda light levels to protect documents on display from excess 
light, public photography with attendant flash works against the 
efforts to protect the documents.
    The NAE exhibitions primarily contain paper and parchment documents 
that are susceptible to the harmful effects of light and in particular 
to the cumulative effects of photographic flash. While all original 
documents on display are at risk from excessive light exposure, the 
Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights (known 
collectively as the Charters of Freedom) are especially susceptible to 
the damaging effects from photographic flash because these documents 
are on permanent display.
    Currently, signage, pamphlets, and security officers inform 
visitors that flash photography is prohibited in the exhibit areas. 
Most photographic flash occurs from accidental acts rather than 
intentional action. However, over the past six years it has proved to 
be an impossible task to prevent visitors from intentionally or 
accidentally using additional light. Security officers do escort those 
visitors out of the building who continue to use flash photography 
after being warned. But, by the time a security officer makes that 
decision, at least two or three flashes have already occurred, 
needlessly exposing documents to excessive light. Numerous visitors' 
remarks in the informal visitors' comment log as well as letters to 
NARA include apologies for inadvertent flash; complaints that flash 
disrupts their visit; that flash rules are not effectively enforced; 
and, that camera use should be banned.
    This proposed rule is not a significant regulatory action for the 
purposes of Executive Order 12866 and has not been reviewed by the 
Office of Management and Budget. As required by the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act, I certify that this rule will not have a significant 
impact on a substantial number of small entities because it affects 
individuals. This regulation does not have any federalism implications.

List of Subjects in 36 CFR Part 1280

    Archives and records, Federal buildings and facilities.
    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, NARA proposes to amend 
part 1280 of title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:


    1. The authority citation for Part 1280 continues to read as 

    Authority: 44 U.S.C. 2102 notes, 2104(a), 2112, 2903

    2. Amend Sec.  1280.46 by redesignating (b)(3) as paragraph (c) and 
revising it to read as follows:

Sec.  1280.46  What are the rules for filming, photographing, or 
videotaping on NARA property for personal use?

* * * * *
    (c) You may not film, photograph, or videotape in any of the 
exhibit areas of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, 
including the Rotunda where the Declaration of Independence, the 
Constitution, and the Bill of Rights are displayed.

    Dated: July 28, 2009.
Adrienne C. Thomas,
Acting Archivist of the United States.
[FR Doc. E9-18461 Filed 7-30-09; 8:45 am]