A Historic Homecoming

By Crystal Conde Premium

Mark your calendar: Sept. 18, the Declaration of Independence, US Constitution and Bill of Rights (collectively known as the Charters of Freedom) will be back on public display in the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Rotunda after a two-year hiatus. And for the first time, all four pages of the Constitution will be displayed together.

While the Rotunda has been undergoing building renovations the past two years, the Charters of Freedom have been getting their own “renovation”: The curators removed the documents from their original housings (called encasements) to put them in more preservation-friendly — and accessible — displays. A team of conservators, chemists, physicists, architects, archivists and engineers designed state-of-the-art encasements to protect the Charters of Freedom from deterioration. New display cases will make the documents more accessible to children and visitors in wheelchairs.

You can see the newly encased documents opening weekend from 10 a.m. to midnight Sept. 18-20 and 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sept. 21. For details, call (866) 272-6272 or visit <>. Learn more about the re-encasement and Rotunda renovation in the July 2003 Heritage Travel, a special issue of Family Tree Magazine.

From the October 2003 Family Tree Magazine