Field trip alert: A new exhibition at the George W. Bush Presidential Center will display rare versions of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution of the United States, Magna Carta, Emancipation Proclamation, and more historically significant American documents.
"Freedom Matters" opens Thursday, March 2 at the museum on the campus of Dallas' Southern Methodist University. It will run through December 31, 2023. The exhibition also coincides with the 10-year anniversary of the George W. Bush Presidential Center.
"Freedom Matters" will encourage visitors to "consider the pursuit of freedom throughout history, how the work of extraordinary and ordinary people has impacted freedom for millions of individuals, and what we all can do in our everyday lives to advocate for the blessings of liberty and a free society," according to a release.
The documents and artifacts going on display - such as a 14th-century copy of the Magna Carta - were used to inform citizens in an era before mass media and social media, the museum reminds. Also showcased will be books by philosophers John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
The pieces come from the collections of the Harlan Crow Library and David Rubenstein.
“The 'Freedom Matters' exhibit will be a real treat for our visitors,” says Ken Hersh, Bush Center CEO and president, in the release. “The Bush Center is honored to celebrate democracy and fundamental freedoms. I can think of no better way to commemorate the Bush Center’s 10th anniversary than with a tribute to our Nation’s foundational values.”
Beyond just displaying documents and artifacts, the museum promises to take guests on "an interactive journey through the experience of freedom itself, including where freedom comes from, what it means, the characteristics of free societies, and the role of the individual in protecting and spreading freedom around the world," they say.
The exhibit builds on the themes of the evolution, understanding, and pursuit of freedom throughout history.
During a section called "American Experiment," for example, visitors will consider how the United States has sought to live up to the ideals articulated in the Declaration of Independence and other founding documents.
"Case studies through moments in history – including the creation of the United States, the Civil War and Reconstruction, women’s suffrage, the Indian Citizenship Act, Japanese American incarceration during World War II, the Civil and Voting Rights Acts, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and marriage equality — are centered on primary sources, including the documents themselves and narratives and perspective of people of the time," the release says.
Admission to "Freedom Matters" will be included with the purchase of tickets to visit the Bush Center’s permanent exhibit, which includes steel from the World Trade Center and a full-scale replica of the Oval Office.