America at 250: Celebrating the Birth of America and the American Experience

Two hundred fifty years ago, in the summer of 1774, Americans in the thirteen colonies discussed forming a Continental Congress to coordinate a response to British policies. Two years later, in July 1776, that Congress signed the Declaration of Independence. This proclaimed the birth of the United States of America.

Now it is the summer of 2024. As the nation gets closer to its 250th birthday, Americans throughout the fifty states are discussing ways to celebrate this important milestone. This includes the people and spirit of the nation we love. A Grade Ahead staff are excited to share with you four enriching ways to help you get involved!

Learn More: The Declaration of Independence at the National Archives and Monticello

Any celebration of American independence should start with the Declaration itself. This is displayed in the Rotunda at the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, DC. The way in which this founding document is worded is important, so be sure to explore its transcription as well. For more about the wording and the history of the Declaration of Independence, visit the National Archives website.

Thomas Jefferson also had a specific vision in mind when he wrote the rough draft of the Declaration. We at A Grade Ahead feel that this first draft is just as important. Monticello, the museum at Jefferson’s home, has an excellent website that includes helpful resources and articles that explain the impact of the Declaration of Independence on not only the United States but also the world.

Consider visiting the National Constitution Center’s website as well for more information about the founding of American democracy or the Library of Congress for sources and images that document America’s past.

Travel through Time: Visit the National Park Service’s Historic Sites

What better place to celebrate America than at her birthplace? The National Parks Service protects important historic sites all over the United States. This includes Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. Independence Hall was the setting of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Additionally, it was also the backdrop for the debates over the Constitution eleven years later. Can’t make it to Philadelphia? Consider going to Historic Jamestowne, the start of English colonization in the new world. Or perhaps consider the Yorktown Battlefield, the scene of the last major battle in the American Revolutionary War.

A Grade Ahead staffers will broadly celebrate the American experience. We recommend traveling to National Parks sites related to all aspects of American history. From the Harriet Tubman National Historic Park in Auburn, New York, to the Manhattan Project National Park in Los Alamos, New Mexico, the National Parks explore all aspects of American history and culture. For more about the National Parks Service, refer to our past blog post, “Choose Your Family’s Adventure This Summer at America’s National Parks.”

For those who cannot travel to these important sites, the National Parks Service’s website, Teaching with Historic Places, includes helpful lesson plans, guides, and more. The National Parks Service even offers “curiosity kits” with articles and documents about specific topics and people, like Katharine Lee Bates, who wrote the lyrics to “America the Beautiful.”

Would you like to travel through time even more conveniently? See if an A Grade Ahead near you is offering Time Traveler Tales. This enrichment camp merges both history and writing, an important English skill.

Become a Citizen Archivist: Help the National Archives Transcribe National Records

The National Archives and Records Administration is calling on Americans to become “Citizen Archivists” by transcribing important records and tagging amazing images that document America’s past. For example, the project allows everyday Americans to dig through American Revolutionary War soldiers’ pensions records and transcribe documents that describe UFO sightings. This is a wonderful way to truly experience the past rather than just read about it. It is also an excellent opportunity to join a community of American historians. The National Archives website has established missions that you can join and a History Hub, where you can find answers to all of your research questions. Personally, this A Grade Ahead staffer is excited to join the effort.

Want to brush up on your writing skills before starting transcriptions? Take a free assessment with A Grade Ahead today, and join one of our enrichment classes!

Tell Your Story:’s Invitation

The planning for America’s 250th birthday began 10 years ago, when Congress established the U.S. Semi-quincentennial Commission. They have been joined by, Inc., which was formed primarily to support the commission and its efforts to celebrate what it means to be an American as well as the founding of the nation. is a bi-partisan commission devoted to making sure that the celebration is the largest and most inclusive one ever. To do that, has issued an invitation to all Americans to share their stories as a way of showing the diversity of the American experience and showcasing the amazing people who continue to build and shape this nation. Everyday people from Alexandria, VA, to Blaine, WA, are sharing their pasts, presents, and hopes for the future in artwork, narratives, and interviews. has published their stories and pictures on its website at To share your story, go to

What will you do?

These are just four ways in which you can kick off America’s 250th birthday celebrations. What will you do? Tell us below in the comments!

Author: Susanna Robbins, Teacher and Curriculum Assistant at A Grade Ahead


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