Family History News and Views from Lisa Louise Cooke, host of The Genealogy Gems Podcast at www.GenealogyGems.com
Friday, August 13, 2010
Become a Friend of the U.S. Constitution on NARA's Facebook Page
August 12, 2010
NATIONAL ARCHIVES ANNOUNCES NEW INITIATIVES HONORING THE U.S.
WASHINGTON, DC… In anticipation of Constitution Day, the National
Archives will unveil a new exhibition: “The Charters of Freedom: Our
Nation’s Founding Documents” on September 13, 2010. This exhibit
takes a fresh look at these Charters - the Declaration of Independence,
the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights - all on permanent display in
the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom. The new exhibit surrounds the
Charters’ centerpiece cases, using originals and facsimiles of
historical documents from the holdings of the National Archives to
answer two key questions about each Charter -- “How did it happen?”
and “Why is it important?” The new exhibit is an attempt to answer
questions visitors often ask when see the Charters.
Constitution Day activities marking the 223rd anniversary of the
September 17 signing of this milestone document include daylong special
events and programs on September 17 (Constitution Day), an evening with
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer discussing his new book, Making Our
Democracy Work: A Judge's View, on September 13, and an evening panel
discussion with constitutional scholars on September 21. These events
are free and open to the public. For more information see http://www.archives.gov/dc-metro/events/september.html.
In honor of this celebration, the National Archives has launched a
Facebook page for the Constitution. Friend the Constitution on Facebook
at http://tiny.cc/USConstitution! This new page is interactive forum
for the Constitution that encourages open discussion and debate.
Background on the exhibition
Highlights of the new exhibition include “Secrets of the Documents” and special quotes from the Founding Fathers, as well as the following:
● Elizabeth Burgin’s remarkable story- told through original
letters ¬¬- of her escape from New York in a whaleboat¬¬ and of her
heroic role in a successful plot to free solders from British prison
● The fascinating travels of the Declaration of Independence
before it was displayed safely at the National Archives: it has had
many homes, including government offices, the interiors of safes and
other public displays. Wagons, ships, a Pullman sleeper, and an armored
vehicle have transported this priceless document; and
● Information about how the National Archives preserves these
The new Charters exhibition also provides answers to the following
● Why is it so dark and cold in the Rotunda?
● What is parchment, and why were the Charters written on it and
● Did slaves really fight on both sides in the Revolutionary War?
● Which of the original colonies did not sign the Constitution or
even send delegates to the Constitutional Convention?
● Are there really “typos” in the Constitution?
● Which of the articles proposed in the original Bill of Rights
was not ratified until 1992?
● How were the murals created?
The National Archives Building in Washington, DC, is located on the
National Mall and is fully accessible. National Archives Exhibit Hours
are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. daily (through Labor Day), and 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
through March 14.