Press Release
Press Release · Friday, August 27, 2004

Press Release
August 27, 2004


Last Chance: National Archives Exhibition Makes Final Stop in Delaware

Washington, D.C. … On Thursday, September 2, the National Archives traveling exhibition "American Originals: Treasures from the National Archives" opens at the Delaware Art Museum at the Bank One Center on the Riverfront. Wilmington, Delaware is the final stop for "American Originals" which has been on a three-year, nine-city national tour. The exhibition will be on display through October 17, 2004.

"American Originals" showcases original documents that have charted the course of American history. The exhibition is drawn from the vast holdings of the National Archives, which preserves and makes available to the public those records of the United States government that have been identified as having permanent value. These original documents are the raw stuff of history.

Among the documents featured in "American Originals" are:

  • Delaware’s ratification of the Constitution, December 7, 1787. Delaware was the first state to ratify the Constitution and earned the nickname "The First State";

  • Louisiana Purchase Treaty, April 30, 1803, signed by Robert Livingston and James Monroe in Paris;

  • Thomas Edison’s patent specifications for the electric lamp, November 1, 1879;

  • Rosa Parks’s appeal to the Alabama State Court of Appeals, filed December 12, 1955 (selected pages);

  • John F. Kennedy’s handwritten notes for his inaugural address, 1961;

  • and the draft of President Richard Nixon’s speech (not delivered) announcing that he would not resign the Presidency, 1974.

A special highlight of "American Originals" at the Delaware Art Museum will be the four-day display of the original, signed Emancipation Proclamation. This landmark document will be at the Delaware Art Museum from Thursday, September 30 through Sunday, October 3. Due to its fragile condition, it can only be displayed for four days at each venue. The Emancipation Proclamation has not been on display in the state of Delaware in more than 55 years.

"American Originals" was created by the National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. and The Foundation for the National Archives. In Delaware, the exhibition is co-sponsored by the Delaware Department of State, the Delaware Public Archives, the Riverfront Development Corporation and the Delaware Art Museum.

"American Originals" has been shown at The New York Public Library in New York City, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago, the Ohio Historical Society in Columbus, the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library in Atlanta, Union Station Kansas City, the Witte Museum in San Antonio, Tex., the Los Angeles Public Library, and the Museum of American Political Life at the University of Hartford. Up to this point, more than 470,000 people have seen "American Originals" during the national tour.

During the run of "American Originals" the Delaware Art Museum at the Bank One Center on the Riverfront will be open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. (last entry to gallery is at 7 p.m.); and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Admission to the Delaware Art Museum is $7 for adults; $5 for senior citizens (60 and over); $2.50 for students; and free to registered school groups and children age 6 and under. During the Delaware Art Museum's expansion at 2301 Kentmere Parkway, the collection and Museum activities are housed at the Bank One Center on the Riverfront, 800 South Madison St., Wilmington, DE, 19801. More information on the exhibition and scheduled programs related to the exhibition is available by calling 302-571-9590 or online at

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For additional information on the traveling exhibition, contact Stephanie Clemson at 847-570-0943 or 301-837-1700, or by e-mail at, or visit the online press kit at

For additional information about the exhibition at the Delaware Art Museum, please contact Lora Englehart at 302-571-9590 or by e-mail at


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