Human Rights Exhibit at Fraunces Tavern Museum To Feature 1215 Magna Carta, "Magna Carta and the Foundations of Freedom"

August 20, 2009 (PRLEAP.COM) Education News
New York City (August 20, 2009) - Fraunces Tavern Museum is in the final stages of preparation for its new exhibit, "Magna Carta and the Foundations of Freedom" scheduled to open September 15 and run until December 15, 2009. The star attraction is one of the four remaining copies of the original 1215 Magna Carta. On loan from Lincoln Cathedral in England, it has been seen in New York City only a handful of times before.

Often referred to as "the document that changed the world" Magna Carta played a crucial role in laying the groundwork for freedom and human rights movements that evolved in America and worldwide over the centuries that followed it. The Fraunces Tavern Museum exhibit will trace its influence from the 13th century through today.

Written in 1215 Magna Carta (Latin for "Great Charter") was forced upon King John of England by his barons to limit the power of the monarch for the first time in history. It also set lasting precedents for trial by jury, representative government, freedom of the church and other rights that echoed through the centuries that followed to the American Revolution and Civil War, women's, minority and civil rights movements and more.

Commenting on the exhibit and timelessness of the ancient document, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O'Connor said, "To this day, the Magna Carta remains a beacon for nations and peoples committed to the ideals of democracy and individual freedom."

Explaining the purpose behind the exhibit, Museum president, Charles C. Lucas, said, "Fraunces Tavern Museum wanted to bring Magna Carta to New York because this document is at the root of the American Revolution-which is what our Museum is about. Even though it was drafted over five centuries earlier, Magna Carta established rights and principles on which The Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution rest."

Additional treasures on special loan as well as from the Museum's own collection will further illustrate how Magna Carta has touched freedom movements to the present day. These will include historic paintings, broadsides and engravings depicting the American Revolution and other events. A very early printing from the 19th century of "The New Colossus"-the famous poem engraved upon the Statue of Liberty-will be included. ("Give me your tired, your poor…") Also, what is purported to be an exceedingly rare copy of the Declaration of Independence is scheduled to be included.

Visitors to the exhibit will also be able to see The Long Room-where George Washington bade a tearful farewell to his officers in 1783 and the Clinton Dining room-an elegant Federal style dining room illuminated by colorful, hand-blocked 19th century wallpaper depicting scenes from the Revolutionary War. There are also galleries featuring rare period images of George Washington and paintings about the American Revolution.

Fraunces Tavern is an historic treasure in its own right. Besides being the location where George Washington bade his famous farewell at the close of the American Revolution, it was also the first site of the new nation's Departments of War, Treasury and Foreign Affairs. The Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York rescued the building from demolition in 1904, restored it, opened it to the public as a museum in 1907 and continues to own and operate it to this day.

A press preview is scheduled. (Press only.) For more information visit or contact Anthony Wellman, Communications Director, Fraunces Tavern Museum, 54 Pearl Street, New York, NY 10004. Telephone 212-425-1776. Email: