Be a Citizen Curator: Cast Your Vote for the First Document to Star in the New National Archives "Records of Rights" Exhibition
Press Release · Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Washington, DC

Winning Document to be announced when David M. Rubenstein Gallery opens December 10, 2013

Important Note: The opening of this exhibition has been rescheduled to December 10, and the Records of Rights voting has been extended to November 15, 2013.

Records of Rights: Cast Your Vote button

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Washington, DC…The National Archives invites the public to become "citizen curators" and help choose an original document for the opening our new David M. Rubenstein Gallery "Records of Rights" exhibition on December 10, 2013. Vote online through November 15, 2013 [].

The "Records of Rights" permanent exhibition and the David M. Rubenstein Gallery was made possible in part by the Foundation for the National Archives, through the support of David M. Rubenstein.

America’s founding documents—the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights—are icons of liberty. But the ideals enshrined in those documents did not initially apply to all Americans. They were, in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., "a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir."

"Records of Rights" allows visitors to explore how generations of Americans sought to fulfill this promise of freedom. "Records of Rights" showcases original and facsimile National Archives documents to illustrate how Americans throughout our history have debated and discussed issues such as citizenship, free speech, voting rights, and equal opportunity.

Now everyone can join this debate and help the curators select the first original landmark document to be featured for the December 10 opening. Make your mark at the "Records of Rights Vote," an online poll where you can help choose the opening document to be displayed.

The documents under consideration are:

  • The 1868 joint resolution proposing the 14th Amendment to the states. The 14th amendment established the principle of "equal protection of the laws" and granted citizenship to "all persons born or naturalized in the United States."

  • The 1971 certification of the 26th Amendment. The amendment lowered the voting age from 21 to 18.

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act, 1990, which expanded Federal civil rights laws to include disabled Americans and banned discrimination in employment, public services, public accommodations, transportation, and telecommunications.

  • Executive Order 9981, 1948. Signed by President Harry S. Truman, this order desegregated the U.S. Armed Forces.

  • The Immigration Reform Act, 1965. These amendments to a 1952 immigration law ended the country-based immigration quotas that had favored immigrants from western and northern Europe.

Come visit the new exhibition in person on December 10 to see if your favorite document is displayed in the landmark case.

Since "Records of Rights" is a permanent exhibition, there will be many opportunities to display other landmark documents. Feel free to suggest your favorite for future consideration!

Share your thoughts about why you voted for a document or why it is meaningful in the comments section of our Prologue: Pieces of History blog.

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For media inquiries, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs Staff at: 202-357-5300.

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