North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources
Office of Information and Marketing Services
Raleigh, NC 27699-4601
919/807-7385 Fax 919/733-1620
Release: January 4, 2007
Liberty and Freedom: North Carolina’s Tour of the
Bill of Rights
(RALEIGH, N.C.) North
Carolina’s copy of the Bill of Rights, stolen from the State Capitol in 1865,
and recovered in a sting operation in 2003, will crisscross the state in 2007
during “Liberty and Freedom: North Carolina’s Tour of the Bill of Rights.” The
precious copy of the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution is one of
only 15 known copies in existence.
“The tour of the Bill of Rights
is a fitting way to mark ‘History Happens Here,’ which is Cultural Resources’
departmental theme for 2007,” said Secretary Lisbeth C. “Libba” Evans. “From the
birth of the first English child in the New World, to the first formal sanction
of independence, to the first discovery of gold in the U.S., North Carolina has
much history to share.”
Stolen during the Union
occupation of Raleigh during the final days of the Civil War, the Bill of Rights
came home to North Carolina in 2005 after 140 years. North Carolina Governor
Mike Easley set in motion the creation of a team of law enforcement officials
from North Carolina, Pennsylvania, the FBI, and the U.S. Marshal’s Office.
Dealers were trying to sell the document to a museum in Philadelphia.
“The Bill of Rights plays an
important part in the daily life of the United States, and North Carolina played
a key part in the birth of the Bill of Rights,” said historian Dr. Jeffrey Crow,
Deputy Secretary of the Office of Archives and History. “North Carolina refused
to join the United States until a Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution.”
Each stop on the tour will
feature speakers who will highlight a different amendment:
- Fayetteville, home of the
state’s oldest newspaper still being published, will feature Freedom of the
Press, Feb. 9-11. The Bill of Rights will be on display at the Airborne and
Special Ops Museum.
- Wilmington, home of the
oldest synagogue in the state will highlight Freedom of Religion, March
9-11. The Bill of Rights will be on display at the Louise Wells Cameron Art
- Edenton, home of North
Carolina’s oldest courthouse, will host Freedom of Speech, April 19-21. The
Bill of Rights will be on display at the Chowan County Courthouse in
Edenton. Historic Edenton is one of 27 North Carolina State Historic Sites.
- Raleigh, the capital of
North Carolina, will highlight Non-Enumerated Rights during Constitution
Week, Sept. 17-23. The Bill of Rights will be on display at the North
Carolina Museum of History.
- Charlotte, home of the
Mecklenburg Resolves, will showcase the Right to Assemble/Petition, Oct.
5-7. The Bill of Rights will be on display at the library and performing
arts center ImaginOn.
in conjunction with the annual meeting of the North Carolina Literary and
Historical Association, will host Right to a Jury Trial and Due Process,
Nov. 8-10. The Bill of Rights will be on display at UNC-Asheville.
- Greensboro, site of the
Battle of Guilford Courthouse will feature the Right to Bear Arms, Nov. 30
to Dec. 2. The Bill of Rights will be on display at the Greensboro Museum
Signatures on the North
Carolina copy include Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg as speaker of the House of
Representatives and John Adams as U.S. vice-president and president of the
Senate. The document also has the signatures of John Beckley, clerk of the House
of Representatives and Sam A. Otis, secretary of the Senate.
The fragile document is made of
parchment, which is very thin sheepskin or goatskin. It is approximately 31 3/8
inches x 26 1/2 inches. After the document’s recovery, the Department of
Cultural Resources had it professionally conserved. It now sits on a sheet of
polyester film and an acid free mat board, which is covered by polyester film.
Another piece of mat board covers it and it has a window mat and cover to go
over the top. It is contained in an acid free box which sits in another box,
separated by bubble wrap.
“Liberty and Freedom” is
presented by the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, which includes
the State Archives, 27 historic sites, seven history museums, Historical
Publications, Offices of Archaeology and Preservation, the State Library,
including genealogy, the N.C. Arts Council, N.C. Museum of Art, and N.C.
Symphony. Many programs relating to “History Happens Here” will be part of the
Cultural Resources is a state
agency dedicated to the promotion and protection of North Carolina’s arts,
history and culture. Now podcasting 24/7 with information about the Department
of Cultural Resources, all available at