Emancipation Proclamation Comes Out Of Hiding

National Archives plans to put the document on display for just four days during a Civil War exhibit.

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Arguably among the top three American historical documents with the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the very little seen original Emancipation Proclamation is getting a cameo at the National Archives November 11-14. It's such a hidden item, due to preservation efforts, that the archives, in announcing its second Civil War exhibit, is drawing attention to the history-making event in a release that proclaims: "The original Emancipation Proclamation, which is rarely shown, will be showcased in a special four-day display during part two of the exhibit, from November 11 to November 14, 2010."

See the release below:


October 5, 2010


Groundbreaking exhibit includes special 4-day display of original Emancipation Proclamation

Washington, DC. On Wednesday, November 10, the National Archives will unveil the second part of its groundbreaking exhibit Discovering the Civil War. This exhibit peels back 150 years of accumulated analysis, interpretation, and opinion to take a fresh look at the Civil War through little-known stories, seldom-seen documents, and unusual perspectives. Discovering the Civil War presents the most extensive display ever assembled from the incomparable Civil War collection of the National Archives. Discovering the Civil War Part Two: Consequences is free and open to the public, and will be on display in the Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, through April 17, 2011. The exhibition is presented by the Center for the National Archives Experience and the Foundation for the National Archives.

***The original Emancipation Proclamation, which is rarely shown, will be showcased in a special four-day display during Part Two of the exhibit, from November 11 to November 14, 2010.

Discovering the Civil War offers visitors the chance to join researchers in unlocking secrets, solving mysteries, and uncovering unexpected events in Civil War records of the National Archives. Part Two – Consequences uses letters, diaries, photos, maps, petitions, receipts, patents, amendments, and proclamations from the Civil War collection of the National Archives. It combines these unique documents with engaging touch-screen interactives incorporating social media tools in a physical environment inspired by 21st Century research rooms. Rather than trying to recreate 1860, these interactives let visitors see the war through the lens of 2010 technology. Instead of a traditional chronological approach, the exhibition explores five broad themes:

Invention and Enterprise - Both the Union and Confederate governments increased spending during the war. Millions of dollars were spent on new or improved cannons, guns, shells, tents, ambulances, and artificial limbs. The role of the telegraph and the railroad expanded. How did this spending and dramatic changes in transportation and communication affect the war?

Prisoners and Casualties - The life of a Civil War soldier or sailor involved week after week of routine drills, inspections, and housekeeping. Combat relieved the tedium, but often with bitter consequences such as death, injury, or captivity that changed lives forever. Many diseases ran through the ranks, causing even more misery than battle. What were the costs of battle? What kinds of care did the wounded, sick, and dead receive? And how were prisoners treated by their captors?

Emancipations - The path to emancipation was a gradual and uneven one, shaped by military events, government policies, and the actions of enslaved people who pursued and fought for their freedom. How did the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery evolve? Were there two 13th Amendments, and how did they differ? How did a war over secession become one for human freedom? What role did Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation play?

Spies and Conspiracies - During the Civil War both sides used their resources to conduct intelligence operations that would give them an advantage. While these intelligence operations were often disjointed and uncoordinated, both sides experienced occasional successes. Uncover the covert Civil War by exploring questions such as how did the North and South spy on each other? What conspiracies were formed during the war? And what kinds of sabotage took place?