Public Programs




United States Constitution

Visitors to the Kennedy Institute from Friday, September 14, through Monday, September 17, can take part in Constitution Weekend 2018 activities, including the nationwide Preamble Challenge, sponsored by Institute partner the Civics Renewal Network. The Preamble Challenge is to take the 52 words in the Preamble of the Constitution and find a new way to recite them, turn them into a song, perform, deliver, and share them on social media with the hashtags #RenewCivics, #PreambleChallenge, and #ConstitutionDay.

The Preamble is:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

See what each visitor experiences at the Institute including learning about the history and signing of the Constitution, and the opportunity to consider the Constitution’s legacy today as they cast a vote on Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh in the Today’s Vote program.

More about Constitution Day and Constitution Weekend activities. Constitution Day (or Citizenship Day) is a day of observance recognizing the adoption of the United States Constitution and those who have become U.S. citizens. It is normally observed on September 17, the day in 1787 that delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the document in Philadelphia. The law establishing the present holiday was created in 2004 with the passage of an amendment by Senator Robert Byrd to the Omnibus Spending Bill of 2004.

On Friday, September 14, Worcester State University and the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate celebrate Constitution Day by leading a day-long series of learning activities in civic education. Faculty, staff, and students from Worcester State University, UMass Boston, Leicester High School, and West Springfield High School will join together for the day’s programs.

In the morning, groups will participate in a Conference Committee program and in the afternoon, college students will mentor high school students in a simulated constitutional convention where amending a core feature of the U.S. Constitution is formally debated. The topic for Constitution Day 2018 is Ranked Choice Voting and whether changing the way voters express their preferences on election day can yield more democratic outcomes.

On Monday, September 17, Winchester High School will visit the Kennedy Institute for a Senate Immersion Module and will also host St. Kevin’s School from Melbourne, Australia.

Additional Resources

  • City Awake's Our Convention 2019

    City Awake’s Our Convention is one of the largest and prestigious annual gatherings for young professionals in Boston. In the 5th year of Our Convention, City Awake plans to attract 600 emerging leaders to discuss the important issues focused on the region. With a mix of workshops, fireside chats, keynote speakers, and socializing, Our Convention will connect, inspire and mobilize next-gen leaders for the region.

  • Kid Convention 2019

    Kid Convention 2019 is a day of fun and engaging hands-on activities for children and families where youngsters learn about the legislative process, government, and the importance of making their voices heard.

  • Mass Humanities Fall Forum

    Each fall, Mass Humanities brings a stellar group of scholars, journalists, and public officials together for a series of public conversations examining fundamental aspects of our democratic culture. This year, leading scholars Danielle Allen and Jill Lepore will explore the role of historians in society, and the importance of history in a democracy.