August 11, 2000
ATTN: Science/Tech Editors
For the First Time: Media Invited to View Page Two of the Constitution in New Encasement
WHAT: An unveiling ceremony that will reveal for the first time Page Two of the U.S. Constitution in its new high-tech encasement. As part of the National Archives commemoration of the 213th anniversary of the signing of the U. S. Constitution, this special three-day display offers the public its first opportunity to see one of the new permanent encasements, uniquely designed to protect the Charters of Freedom-the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. This space age housing, manufactured from aluminum, titanium and laminated tempered glass is designed by world-class experts to safeguard our nation's most precious documents from environmental hazards.
This is the first time in 12 years that Page Two of the Constitution has been on display. The last time it was exhibited for one day only.
WHO: Archivist of the United States John W. Carlin will serve as Master of Ceremonies. Presidential scholar Michael Beschloss will make special remarks.
WHEN: Ceremony will take place at 8:30 A.M. Friday, September 15, 2000. The special display will be open to the public 10 A.M. to 8 P.M. on Friday, September 15 and 10 A.M. to 5 P.M., Saturday and Sunday, September 16 & 17.
WHERE: Rotunda of the National Archives Building. Press should use the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance, between 7th and 9th Streets, NW.
1. No artificial light may be used in the Rotunda.
2. Technical experts will be available to discuss conservation techniques used on the parchment and the path-breaking engineering design of the new encasements.
3. A three-minute clip reel that includes behind-the-scenes shots of the design and manufacturing of the encasement and the opening of the original 1952 cases will be available at the event.
The re-encasement project is part of a major renovation of the National Archives Building that includes the Constitution Avenue entrance, the Rotunda and the surrounding exhibition space. The Rotunda renovation includes restoring the two oversized murals depicting the presentation of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution; building new display cases for the Charters of Freedom so that all four pages of the Constitution can be displayed (currently only the first and last pages can be displayed;) and so that these documents will be accessible to handicapped visitors; and constructing new exhibition space to showcase some of the highlights from the National Archives collection. The Rotunda will close temporarily on July 5, 2001 for renovation and will reopen in 2003.
For information on free public events to celebrate Constitution Week call 202-501-5000.For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or by e-mail.