Congress adopted the Great Seal in 1782. The seal, housed with the State Department, is used to authenticate federal documents. Three committees contributed their ideas until the final choice was made. The seal has at least five symbols that have thirteen of that object. For example, the eagle holds thirteen arrows. Children can learn more at: http://bensguide.gpo.gov/j-great-seal?highlight=WyJncmVhdCIsInNlYWwiLCJzZWFsJ3MiLCJncmVhdCBzZWFsIl0=.