Dunlap Broadside and Constitution Drafts Coming to the DAR Museum

Written by: Lynn Young, President General
May 10, 2016

During a visit to New Hampshire in August 2014 for the Cathedral of the Pines, we visited the American Independence Museum in Exeter. The museum consists of two buildings, the Folsom Tavern, where George Washington ate in 1789 and the Ladd-Gilman House, built in 1721 by prosperous Exeter merchants.   The home later became the state headquarters of the Society of the Cincinnati which was organized in the Folsom Tavern.  Society of the Cincinnati members generously donated historically significant items from the American Revolution including furnishings, ceramics, silver, textiles and military items to the museum.

One of the museum’s greatest treasures is a Dunlap Broadside, one of the first copies of the Declaration of Independence.  Approximately 200 copies of the Dunlap Broadside were published on July 4, 1776 and 26 copies are known to exist. The Museum also has two early drafts of the U.S. Constitution with hand written notes made in the margins. One is a copy of the very first draft of what later became the Constitution and this document was then submitted to the rest of the Convention. The other draft was a later version with other edits incorporated. It was fascinating to see the process of our Constitution coming together.

I was so moved by these rare historical documents and their significance that I just knew we needed to work with the American Independence Museum and have the documents loaned to the DAR Museum. With this year’s DAR Museum exhibition, Remembering the American Revolution: 1776-1890, it was the perfect time to have these historic documents on display at our Museum.

This summer from May 26 – July 9, the Dunlap Broadside, as well as the two draft copies of the U.S. Constitution will be on loan at the DAR Museum. We are thrilled to be able to share these rare, priceless pieces of Revolutionary history with our membership and the public. As we celebrate the Independence Day holiday this summer it will be fitting to look back on these documents that helped establish our nation and freedoms.

We hope you will plan your visit to the DAR Museum this summer to see these rare documents up close. DAR Members will get an exclusive look at the documents during Continental Congress, June 13-19, when DAR Headquarters is only open to those members and guests registered for the conference. The exhibit will reopen to the public on June 20. The DAR Museum will be closed for the Federal holiday on Monday, July 4, but visitors are encouraged to see the documents surrounding the Independence Day holiday before they return to the American Independence Museum after Saturday, July 9. You can learn more about these loan documents here.

I am so thrilled to be able to showcase these pieces of history at the DAR Museum. Sincere thanks to the American Independence Museum for loaning the documents to us. Now we wait for the documents to arrive!

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