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 is a pre-War building that housed an agency that was charged with preserving and documenting government and historical records. The building is relatively undamaged, but the documents and records have mostly been destroyed or ruined. It has also become home to super mutants, centaurs, and robots; one of which has a personality. The super mutants have placed many traps around to keep out unwanted visitors.

It also houses 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.


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. You can get in that way, but you will not get credit for having "discovered" it and thus will not be able to fast travel back to it, so it is probably best to walk around to the front door.


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 8 questions. Answering all 8 questions correctly awards you an Archives prize voucher, which may be redeemed at the prize redemption terminal mounted on the same wall. For promotional reasons, your choice of prize involves 3 unique Mentats: Glamorously Grape, Brilliantly Berry, and Observantly Orange. Answering a question incorrectly will reset all questions, but you may reattempt with no apparent penalty. When reattempting the mini-game, previously selected answers will appear highlighted. The correct answers, in order, are: The Second Continental Congress, Thirteen, John Hancock, 56, Ratification, King George III, Happiness, and Thomas Jefferson. There are also 6 Archives prize voucher in a locked safe (average) in the archives administrators office.

Opposite the previously mentioned terminals is the rotunda. Sydney, a relic-hunter, will be waiting in the rotunda, surrounded by a lot of frag mines. She hails you, asking 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, you are able to loot Sydney's 10mm "Ultra" SMG, a unique 10mm submachine gun (but you may want to keep her alive, as later on there is a way for you to receive infinite copies of Sydney's 10mm "Ultra" SMG when she's in Underworld if you have the holodisk A note from Little Moonbeam's father from the Statesman Hotel midlevel and deliver it to Sydney in Underworld). You will also have to open the secret elevator manually by accessing Sydney's remote terminal nearby.

After the assault, you have the option to partner up with Sydney to find the Declaration of Independence. If selected, she will open the Secret Elevator, taking you directly to the Archival Secure Wing East, or you may choose to open the Secret Elevator manually by accessing Sydney's remote terminal nearby yourself. If you retrieve the Declaration of Independence without speaking with her, she will disappear and you will be unable to trade with her in Underworld. If you wish to keep Sydney alive, in hopes of obtaining Sydney's 10mm "Ultra" SMG, it may be in your best interest to have her wait in the Rotunda until you have 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, apparently electrocuted. If you attempt to activate (drink) the toilet, the character will be shocked and take 25 points of damage. You may retrieve 35 microfusion cells without taking any harm if your 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. It's very easy to see since the back is pried off and there is an antenna sticking out of the top.

There are also numerous physical traps with swinging engines, battering rams, and lumps of meat. These traps are also sometimes combined with explosives, particularly on staircases. A particularly nasty one is on the east stairs up from the lower level, especially if you have Light Step and are trying to keep Sydney alive. First, when you go up the stairs, you will release a swinging bull's head which will hit Sydney, then if you get by that, when Sydney starts up the stairs, she sets off a grenade bouquet which is above the stairs beyond the next landing (the tripwire for this is located at the base of the stairs and can be triggered by Dogmeat). You can have Sydney wait while you move ahead and disarm them (again, assuming you have Light Step). If you approach these stairs by going east from the entry lobby, they are probably easier to disarm.

Mines are littered throughout the site and are worth collecting either to sell or to use to defend Sydney by placing them in the entryway before walking up to her.

Notable lootEdit

The National ArchivesEdit

Fo3 National Archives lobby map
  • Six Archives prize vouchers are located in a locked safe (average) of the upstairs room. The locked safe (average) 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 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-basementEdit

Fo3 National Archives sub-basement map
  • 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's likely that a careful search on the floor or under bodies will uncover it.

Archival Secure Wing EastEdit

Fo3 National Archives SW East map
  • One 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 StrongroomEdit

Fo3 National Archives Strongroom map


  • Once you successfully get the Declaration of Independence, you 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 chose 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 a nasty explosion.
  • This area can be reached before the Declaration of Independence is retrieved by sneaking past Button and picking the hard level lock. You will find Button's receptacle and control terminal but the Recall command to force him into his receptacle for reprogramming or shutdown fails. So the player cannot repair Button by transferring his AI into the backup protectron.
  • Convincing Button to give you the Declaration, real or fake, will turn friendly all sentry bots and turrets of the National Archives. However, Sydney will still attack the turrets at sight.


The National Archives appears only in Fallout 3.

Behind the scenesEdit

50 Vault-Tec C.E.O.The following is based on unverified behind the scenes information and has not been confirmed by canon sources.

The maintenance notice on the "Thomas Jefferson" protectron is signed by "P. Brantseg - Robotics Team." This is a reference to Patrick Brantseg, art director, and cast member on the TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000. He was the voice and puppeteer of the robot Gypsy on the show until 1999.

50 Vault-Tec C.E.O.End of information based on unverified behind the scenes information.

See alsoEdit


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