WASHINGTON - On September 13, 2010, the National Archives Building
in Washington, DC will unveil a new exhibition: “The Charters of
Freedom: Our Nation’s Founding Documents.” This exhibit takes a
fresh look at the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the
Bill of Rights and uses facsimiles of historical documents from the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.
Surrounding the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom’s centerpiece
cases holding the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of
Rights, highlights of the new exhibition include “Secrets of the
Documents” and special quotes from the Founding Fathers, as well as
â 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
â 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
â Information about how the National Archives preserves these
This exhibition also provides answers to the following questions:
â Why is it so dark and cold in the Rotunda?
â What is parchment, and why were the Charters written on it and
â Did slaves really fight on both sides in the Revolutionary War?
â Which of the original colonies did not sign the Constitution or
even send delegates to the Constitutional Convention?
â Are there really “typos” in the Constitution?
â Which of the articles proposed in the original Bill of Rights
was not ratified until 1992?
â How were the murals created?