The Declaration of Independence Road Trip tour will make a stop at Charleston's Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences of West Virginia to showcase the historic document for one day only on Friday, April 29. In celebration of freedom, admission to museum galleries is free that day during regular hours, which are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This copy of the Declaration of Independence is one of approximately 200 copies printed on the night of July 4, 1776 by Philadelphia printer John Dunlap. As of 1989, only 24 copies of the Dunlap broadsides were known to exist until a flea market shopper purchased a framed painting for $4. While inspecting a tear in the painting, he discovered a folded Dunlap broadside behind it. This 25th copy was authenticated by Sotheby's and an independent expert.
In June, 2000, Norman Lear purchased the document on Sotheby's online auction and founded the Declaration of Independence Road Trip. Lear started the tour with the goal of bringing the "people's document" directly to Americans, especially young people, to inspire them to participate in civic activism and exercise their right to vote.
"We are honored and delighted to welcome the Declaration of Independence for its only stop in West Virginia," said Clay Center President and CEO Judy Wellington. "To be able to share such a valuable piece of our nation's heritage with the community is an incredible opportunity. So that everyone can make the most of this experience, we're offering free museum admission all day."
For those waiting in line to view the display, the exhibit will feature two entertaining and educational videos. The first, hosted by Reese Witherspoon, explains the history of the Declaration and its relevance to contemporary America. The second film, produced at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, features actors Mel Gibson, Benicio Del Toro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Rene Zellweger performing a powerful theatrical presentation of the document.
For information on more upcoming Clay Center programs and events, visit www.theclaycenter.org or call 304-561-3570.
(Free admission does not include the ElectricSkyTM Theater.)