In the next few weeks the public will have a chance to see two treasures of the State Archives in person since both the Bill of Rights and the Carolina Charter of 1663 will be on display in the State Capitol this month.
On Monday, March 18th the recovery of North Carolina’s copy of the Bill of Rights will be celebrated in Raleigh. The celebration will include a procession at 12:45 PM, led by Lt. Gov. Dan Forest and N.C. Department of Cultural Resources Secretary Susan W. Kluttz, to carry the document from the legislative building to the State Capitol. North Carolina’s copy of the Bill of Rights will be on display there from 1:30 PM-5:30 PM. The Bill of Rights was recovered in a sting operation conducted by the U.S. Marshal’s Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2003, but the search for the rare document began not long after it was taken from the State Capitol in April 1865 by an unknown member of Gen. William T. Sherman’s troops.
To learn more about the search for this precious part of North Carolina’s history, see the brief online narrative of events created by the State Archives on the return of the document to the state in 2005. For more information about this coming Monday’s events, see yesterday’s press release on this blog.
The next Monday, March 25th, the first page of the Carolina Charter of 1663 will be on display in the State Capitol from 9:00 AM-5:30 PM to mark 350 years since it was issued. More information on that event will be forthcoming. The Charter of 1663, composed of four pages, marks the beginning of organized, representative government in the Province of Carolina. Even though the Proprietors had substantial power, the colonists were given rights through the charter that were to have lasting influence on the region’s population and its history. It’s also a lovely document, well worth seeing if you have a chance.
If you’re in Raleigh on these two day, please come join us. These documents are only on display on special occasions in order to preserve them for future generations and, while you can always view digital copies of both the Bill of Rights and the Charter in our Treasures Collection in the North Carolina Digital Collections, it is a very different experience to see them in person.
If you find that you can’t join us, I will likely be posting about the Monday, March 18th events on one of our Twitter accounts: WebArchivist. Other Dept. of Cultural Resources accounts will also be tweeting the event that day including @ncsymphony, @ncstatecapitol, and @ncculture. You can also follow the hashtag #NCBOR for tweets about the Bill of Rights event.
[Updated, 3/19/2013: You can see photos from the Bill of Rights event on our Facebook page.]