2015 Press Releases

National Archives Holds Evening Program on Magna Carta and the Constitution June 15
Press Release · Monday, June 8, 2015

Washington, DC

On Monday, June 15, at 7 p.m., the National Archives and The Constitutional Sources Project celebrate the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta with a special program on “Magna Carta and the Constitution.” Experts will discuss the influence of Magna Carta on American constitutionalism, including its place in the charters of the American colonies, its impact on the era of the Founding Fathers, and its continued influence today. Moderated by Judge Royce Lamberth, Senior United States District Judge for the District of Columbia, panelists include: Jennifer Paxton, historian and medieval specialist, Catholic University of America; Robert Pallitto, author of In the Shadow of the Great Charter: Common Law Constitutionalism and the Magna Carta; and Bruce O’Brien, Magna Carta expert from the University of Mary Washington, who served on scholar advisory Board for the Library of Congress’s Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor exhibit.

This program is free and open to the public and will be held in the William G. McGowan Theater of the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC, and streamed live on YouTube. Attendees should use the Special Events entrance on Constitution at 7th Street NW. The National Archives Museum in Washington, DC, is Metro accessible on the Yellow and Green lines, Archives/Navy Memorial station. For upcoming programs, see the Calendar of Events.

Related Magna Carta Day events:

Book Talk: In the Shadow of the Great Charter
June 15, at noon, William G. McGowan Theater

Celebrate the actual 800th anniversary of Magna Carta with Dr. Robert Pallitto, professor of Political Science and author of In the Shadow of the Great Charter: Common Law Constitutionalism and the Magna Carta. Dr. Pallitto will discuss Charter’s origins, history, and nature, and will explore its explicit use of “the law of the land” to protect subjects’ rights and liberty. A book signing will follow the program.

Birthday celebration snack: Magna Carta Cake!
June 15, 1:30–2:30 p.m., McGowan Theater Lobby

Join us for a slice of Magna Carta cake! Free cake with an image of Magna Carta will be served to the first 200 attendees.

Rare original 1297 Magna Carta on view at the National Archives
Records of Rights Gallery, National Archives Museum, Washington, DC

The document, written on parchment in 1297 with iron gall ink, is one of four surviving 1297 versions of Magna Carta in the world today. This rare document is the centerpiece of the Records of Rights permanent exhibition. State-of-the-art technology allows visitors to easily “read” the Latin document through a translation feature and to explore the connections between Magna Carta and American legal history, as well as the elements of Magna Carta that influenced our own Charters of Freedom, and thus the records of rights featured in the exhibit. Magna Carta is on loan to the National Archives from its owner David M. Rubenstein, philanthropist and co-founder of the Carlyle Group.

Related National Archives online resources

  • VIDEO: Magna Carta Conservation Treatment Go behind the scenes into the Conservation Lab at the National Archives. Conservation treatment revealed previously illegible writing through ultra-violet photography. Hear David M. Rubenstein discuss this historic treasure.
  • VIDEO: The Encasement of Magna Carta Observe the fascinating behind-the-scenes creation of the case that displays this historic document at the National Archives. The custom-made encasement is air tight and filled with humidified argon, an inert gas.
  • VIDEO TOUR: Tour of the David M. Rubenstein Gallery at the National Archives Join the curators for a personal tour of the new exhibit that features the 1297 Magna Carta.

National Archives Museum in Washington, DC, is located on Constitution Avenue at 9th Street, NW. Museum hours are 10 am to 5:30 pm. The building is Metro accessible on the Yellow and Green lines, Archives/Navy Memorial/Penn Quarter station.

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