SKIRBALL HOME PAGE LINK Creating the United States Exhibit amazing! Expect low light and take some time. You'll be reading handwritten documents straight out of the history of the United States of America. Can anyone help but compare their own handwriting to that of our Founding Fathers? Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln. (Also ask to see the small exhibit of Abraham Lincoln's artifacts in another gallery!)
"Adapted from an exhibition organized by the Library of Congress, where it was seen by some two million visitors in the library's historic setting, Creating the United States illuminates how the founding documents—the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights—were forged out of imagination and vision, as well as collaboration and compromise. While fulfilling the principles laid down by the founders has been a struggle throughout the centuries, the documents they painstakingly wrote are living instruments, essential to the evolution of America and its future.
"It is a very rare opportunity to see these humble, handwritten pages up close," wrote Robert Kirschner, Skirball Museum Director, in a recent SkirBlog post. "They are surprisingly small. The ink is faded. The penmanship itself is an artifact. Yet these documents are as eloquent and powerful as any ever written. When their faded ink was fresh, the world was ruled by kings..."
On view are original documents and autograph letters by George Washington, John Adams, John Hancock, and Thomas Jefferson; a first edition of Common Sense by Thomas Paine (1776); engravings by Paul Revere; a William J. Stone copy of the Declaration of Independence (1847); a Members Edition of the United States Constitution (1787); a facsimile of Jefferson's desk on which he drafted the Declaration of Independence; and an original copy of Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation (1863). Rarely has the history of American democracy been so vividly assembled for public exhibition in Southern California."