"We have everything from U.S. District court investigations of the Titanic to Watergate," said curator Marvin Pinkert.
"This tells you about the danger of icebergs. Somebody should have read that," noted Stewart.
"That's correct," replied Pinkert.
If it was worth saving, this is where it's at now -- in a new National Archives exhibit just opened called the Public Vaults. You can still see the Constitution of course, but this is where they keep the really good stuff no one knew what to do with until now.
There's the actual telegram announcing the surrender of Ft. Sumter, the immigration papers of Albert Einstein and Alfred Hitchcock. There's Lee Harvey Oswald's original mug shot. There's the classic White House photo of Richard Nixon with Elvis.
"This looks familiar," said Stewart.
"Yes, it's the Zapruder camera from the Warren Commission investigation," said Pinkert.
"The actual camera?" asked Stewart.
Who can forget the scene it captured that long ago day in Dallas?
Want to hear the voice of Rough Rider Teddy Roosevelt? They've got it on a wax recording:
"We stand for the rights of the people!" said Roosevelt on the campaign trail.
There's presidential boyhood film ranging from a shy Lyndon Johnson to lifeguard Ronald Reagan.
Plus there's presidential humor:
"I'm president of the United States and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli," said President George H.W. Bush
And presidential arrogance. Nixon on Watergate:
"This involves these Cubans, Hunt and a lot of hanky-panky we have nothing to do with ourselves!"
A big hit are old recruiting films.
"Be a weekend warrior!" was the slogan of a 1950's film.
But most of all, it's that sense of shared history: old times and our times -- carefully preserved and now laid out to be marveled at all over again.