Historic Annapolis has announced that the exhibit Founding Freedoms: The Essential American Documents has been extended for a limited time, and will continue to be on display in the rotunda of the Maryland State House through November 28, 2021. The exhibit is accessible to the public every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and entry is free of charge.
Historic Annapolis, in partnership with philanthropist and Maryland native David M. Rubenstein and the Maryland State Archives, are pleased to present this exhibition of four of the most important documents in early American history. Founding Freedoms consists of important printings of the Declaration of Independence, United States Constitution, and Bill of Rights, all from Mr. Rubenstein’s collection, presented in a historical context alongside the State House’s permanent display of George Washington’s 1783 Resignation Speech. Together they tell the story of the formation of the United States from the patriotic ideals of the Thirteen Colonies in the Revolutionary War to the democratic principles of the Founding Generation in their creation of our government.
Mr. Rubenstein’s documents, chosen in collaboration with the Maryland State Archives, stand with and thematically complement the original, handwritten 1783 speech by George Washington, in which he resigns as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. Considered one of Washington’s most important precedent-setting decisions, its central place in Founding Freedoms signifies its real and symbolic role in the transfer of power from the British King, not to an American military leader, but to a democratically elected Congress. In displaying these documents adjacent to the resignation speech, visitors have the rare opportunity to see, all at once, the four most important founding documents in American history.
“Together, the documents bring to life a pivotal moment in history and provide a tangible connection to the efforts of our nation’s founders to secure rights and freedoms in the earliest moments of American democracy,” says Elaine Rice Bachmann, Maryland State Archivist and Secretary of the State House Trust.
“Seeing historic documents in person brings them alive in ways that images online or in a book cannot,” says David M. Rubenstein. “The Founding Freedoms exhibit has attracted thousands of visitors and I hope it continues to prompt a fresh appreciation for our great American experiment. I am delighted it will remain on display longer than originally planned.”
“These documents symbolize the birth and development of a new nation and draw attention to the crucial role Annapolis and Maryland played in the nation’s founding. We appreciate the support of the State House Trust in making these documents accessible to the public, and thank Mr. Rubenstein for bringing them to Annapolis so we can highlight the vital role of Maryland’s citizens, past and present, in guaranteeing that these rights are preserved for all today,” says Robert C. Clark, President and CEO of Historic Annapolis.