Historic Annapolis, in partnership with philanthropist and Maryland native David Rubenstein and the Maryland State Archives, will present an exhibition of four of the most important documents in early American history.
Entitled Founding Freedoms: The Essential American Documents, the exhibition will be on display and accessible to the public in the rotunda of the Maryland State House from Sept. 10 to Oct. 11. The State House is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and entry is free of charge.
Founding Freedoms will consist of important printings of the Declaration of Independence, United States Constitution, and Bill of Rights, all from Rubenstein’s collection, presented in a historical context alongside the State House’s permanent display of George Washington’s 1783 Resignation Speech. Together they tell the story of the formation of the United States from the patriotic ideals of the 13 Colonies in the Revolutionary War to the democratic principles of the Founding Generation in their creation of our government.
Examples of the Declaration of Independence include a rare William Stone engraving of the original document in the National Archives. Famous for being the version of the Declaration seen in textbooks instead of the original, this copy was presented by then-Secretary of State John Quincy Adams to Maryland politician Thomas Emory in 1824. Also included in the exhibition are the first newspaper printing of the Constitution and an early newspaper printing of the Bill of Rights, prior to its ratification, when it included 12 amendments.
Founding Freedoms is the first of three exhibitions coming to Annapolis this fall, to include Historic Annapolis’s permanent exhibit, Annapolis: An American Story, at the Historic Annapolis Museum, 99 Main Street, and We Hold These Truths: Maryland’s Signers and the Declaration of Independence, at the William Paca House and Garden, 186 Prince George Street.