Georgia’s copy of the Declaration of Independence will be put on display at the state capitol on Friday. Here is the announcement from the Secretary of State’s office:
Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp today announced that Georgia’s recorded copy of the Declaration of Independence will be available for viewing at the State Capitol on Friday, February 12, 2010, in honor of Georgia Day. The document will be available for viewing from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Royal Charter that made Georgia a colony in 1733 will also be on display.
“The Secretary of State’s Office is proud to offer our citizens this opportunity to view Georgia’s founding documents,” said Secretary Kemp. “We invite all Georgians to the Capitol to celebrate Georgia Day and learn more about our great State’s history.”
The Georgia Archives has limited public viewing of its copy of the Declaration in order to mitigate the fading, deterioration and other damage caused by frequent exhibits.
On January 18, 1777, the Continental Congress met in Baltimore, Maryland and ordered that copies of the Declaration of Independence be printed and sent to each of the 13 states. The States were directed to make the Declaration a part of their official records. Georgia’s copy was officially entered into the records on March 2, 1777.
“Some states entered the Declaration into their official records by pasting the printed copy in their record books. Other states, including Georgia, created an official record by hand-copying the Declaration into the state’s record book,” said David Carmicheal, Director of the Georgia Archives.
Today, the Declaration is protected with Georgia’s other “birth documents”: the Royal Charter that created the colony in 1733, and Georgia’s 1788 ratification of the U.S. Constitution, the document that made Georgia a state. All are kept in a high security vault where a constant temperature and humidity are maintained to ensure their long-term survival.
During my trip to Washington in October, I got to see the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives. I was surprised to see how faded it has become. We won’t have it much longer. Enjoy it while you can.