A permanent memorial to the Constitution was first proposed around the celebration of the centennial of the Constitution in 1887. However, it did not begin to take shape until the idea was proposed again 100 years later during the document’s bicentennial celebration in 1987.
On September 16, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed the Constitution Heritage Act of 1988 which established the National Constitution Center. The act called for a national center “within or in close proximity to the Independence National Historical Park” that “shall disseminate information about the United States Constitution on a nonpartisan basis in order to increase awareness and understanding of the Constitution among the American people.”
The Center broke ground on September 17, 2000, 213 years to the day after the Constitution was signed. The Center’s 525 Arch Street address was specifically chosen because May 25 (5/25) is the date that the Constitutional Convention began in Philadelphia in 1787. The Center opened its doors on July 4, 2003.