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I've studied the plans to this place, so without me you're going to go in circles. What do you say?Sydney

The National Archives are a location in central Washington, D.C. in Fallout 3.


A pre-War building that housed an agency that was charged with preserving and documenting government and historical records such as the Declaration of Independence, the Magna Carta, and the Bill of Rights. The Declaration of Independence is in a small room behind a Protectron who claims to be the second signatory of the Declaration, Button Gwinnett. It is inhabited by Super Mutants, Centaurs, and robots.


The National Archives is in the northeast part of The Mall. It's east of Museum of History and north of Museum of Technology and their corresponding Museum Station exits, across The Mall's battlefield.

The Mall Northeast station is across the street from the back door of the National Archives. The location will be discovered, and fast traveled to and from, via the front door. The Mall Northeast station is just across the underground platform from the Penn. Ave South station entrance, which in turn is a short walk from the Metro Central station.


Upon entering the building, there is a terminal mounted on the wall facing the rotunda labeled as "National Archives Guess and Win!" featuring a mini-game related to American history. The mini-game consists of eight questions. Answering all eight questions correctly awards an archives prize voucher, which may be redeemed at the prize redemption terminal mounted on the same wall. Prizes include three unique Mentats: Glamorously Grape, Brilliantly Berry, and Observantly Orange. Answering a question incorrectly will reset all questions, but one may reattempt with no penalty. When reattempting the mini-game, previously selected answers will appear highlighted. There are also six archives prize vouchers in an Average locked safe in the archives administrator's office.

National Archives Guess And Win

Question Answer
The Declaration of Independence was an act of what body? Second Continental Congress
How many North American Colonies rebelled against Great Britain in 1776? Thirteen
Who was the first person to sign the Declaration of Independence? John Hancock
How many delegates signed the Declaration of Independence? 56
Which one of the following is NOT a written section of the Declaration of Independence? Ratification
Who was the ruler of Great Britain when the Declaration was enacted in 1776? King George III
Complete this famous phrase from the Declaration: “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of…” Happiness
Who was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence? Thomas Jefferson


Opposite the previously mentioned terminals is the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom. Sydney, a relic-hunter, will be waiting in the rotunda, surrounded by a lot of Frag Mines. She asks for help in fighting off a variety of Super Mutants, and to avoid the frag mines. Upon reaching her location, super mutants will spawn outside the rotunda, and begin their assault.

After the first group of super mutants is exterminated, another group will appear, possibly wielding Miniguns or Missile Launchers. If Sydney is killed during the assault, one can loot Sydney's 10mm "Ultra" SMG, a unique 10mm Submachine Gun. One will also have to open the secret elevator manually by accessing Sydney's remote terminal nearby.

After the assault, the Lone Wanderer has the option to partner up with Sydney to find the Declaration of Independence. If selected, she will open the secret elevator, taking one directly to the archival secure wing east, or one may choose to open the secret elevator manually by accessing Sydney's remote terminal nearby. If one retrieves the Declaration of Independence without speaking with her, she will disappear and one will be unable to trade with her in Underworld. To keep Sydney alive, in hopes of obtaining her 10mm "Ultra" SMG, she can wait in the rotunda until one has successfully exterminated Super Mutants and Sentry Bots.

In the ladies' restroom on the ground floor of the west wing, a burned corpse is face-down in a toilet with a battery and wires attached to it. If one attempts to activate (drink) the toilet, the player character will be shocked and take 25 points of damage. One may retrieve 35 Microfusion Cells without taking any harm if one's Repair skill is 20 or higher. The trap itself is fitted inside the toilet tank; walk right up to the tank and activate the microfusion cells.

In the room with the door to the archival strongroom, there is a terminal that has been rigged with a grenade. The back is pried off and there is an antenna sticking out of the top. Several other traps exist in the vicinity, including explosives, swinging engines, battering rams, a swinging bull's head, grenade bouquets, and mines.


National Archives

Fo3 National Archives lobby map.png
  • Six archives prize vouchers are located in an Average locked safe in the upstairs room. It may be unlocked by accessing the Administrator Berkeley's terminal.
  • Five Pre-War Books - One is located near the east wall of the southwest room which contains the vending machine. It will be on the top shelf of the southernmost bookshelf in the row (next to the door leading to stairs going up). Four are located downstairs from that one in the northern part of the map, near the back door to The Mall, in the center of the room on the front bookcase that's leaning over (frag mine explosions may knock these books into unrecoverable locations). These books can be turned into the scribe at the Arlington Library.
  • One copy of Duck and Cover! is located near the northwest corner of the northwest room with all of the bookshelves. The skill book is lying atop a school desk near two missiles. The room contains plenty of empty bookshelves and frag mines. This room also contains four pre-War books, in the middle, all bunched together.

Archives sub-basement

Fo3 National Archives sub-basement map.png
  • A Duck and Cover!, Mini Nuke and a Stealth Boy at the broken generator behind a Very Hard locked gate in the sub-basement. It is located immediately before entering the archives' secure wing east.
  • One sheet music book is located near the west wall of the first room. It will be on the bottom shelf of an empty metal rack. If explosives go off in the room before it is claimed, it may be under bodies or items that were dislodged in the explosion.

Archival secure wing east

Fo3 National Archives SW East map.png
  • One copy of Lying, Congressional Style is located near an archives security safe in the western room. The skill book is lying next to the archive security safe, behind two locked doors (average). This room also contains the Bill of Rights.
  • The Magna Carta is located in an archives security safe in the eastern room. The archives security safe is behind two Average locked doors.

Archival Strongroom

Fo3 National Archives Strongroom map.png


  • Once successfully retrieving the Declaration of Independence, one may exit west through the utility door (Very Hard lock) and pass through a room with additional Protectron units held in stasis. The last terminal next to the Protectron stasis container, labeled BACK001 Backup Protectron, can be used to activate the robot inside. Select Programming Sub-Routines then choose TJEFF002 Thomas Jefferson. Go back to Execute Transfer and finally back to Activate Unit. The stasis will open and the Protectron within steps out and begins to walk around the utility room. However, because of a vocal module being switched, the Protectron is tuned to Galaxy News Radio. He remains neutral to the player character and companions, and although it is also wearing a wig, it is not lootable. Giving the command to shutdown causes an explosion.
  • This area can be reached before the Declaration of Independence is retrieved by sneaking past Button and picking the Hard level lock. One will find Button's receptacle and control terminal but the Recall command to force him into his receptacle for reprogramming or shutdown fails. So one cannot repair Button by transferring his AI into the backup Protectron.
  • Convincing Button to give the Declaration, real or fake, will turn all sentry bots and turrets of the National Archives friendly. However, Sydney will still attack the turrets.

Behind the scenes