The Library of Congress—which opens its on-site exhibition “Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor” in November—is joining the American Bar Association (ABA) in commemorating the 800th anniversary of the great charter by collaborating on a facsimile traveling exhibit, which was launched Aug. 8 at the ABA Annual Meeting in Boston.
ABA’s “Magna Carta: Enduring Legacy 1215-2015” will feature facsimiles of Magna Carta-related rare documents and artifacts from the collections of the Library of Congress. As many as 16 freestanding banners will depict images of the materials and tell the story of Magna Carta and its catalyst role in promoting the rule of law. The display will be supplemented by a video that further explains the documents and artifacts.
For the next several years, the ABA exhibition will travel to public buildings such as courthouses, law schools, universities and public libraries.
The exhibition will be displayed at an ABA event in London, England, June 12-14, 2015, in conjunction with Magna Carta events held by the ABA.
The ABA Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress worked with the Law Library of Congress to develop the traveling exhibition. The Library provided facsimiles, curated the materials and developed the video, which is narrated by Nathan Dorn, the rare book curator of the Law Library.
The exhibition celebrates the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta in 1215, in a grassy English meadow at Runnymede, by the Thames, when barons coerced King John into granting a number of rights and liberties. These fundamental concepts of freedom and liberty have been accepted and refined through the centuries and were adapted by the Founding Fathers in creating the U. S. Constitution.
The Library of Congress exhibition “Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor” will run for 10 weeks, from Nov. 6, 2014, to Jan. 19, 2015, and will feature one of only four surviving copies of Magna Carta from 1215. This rare issue of the great charter will be the centerpiece of the Library’s exhibition, which will tell the story of the charter’s creation in England, reinterpretation through the centuries, and emergence as an enduring document of constitutional law in the United States.
The 1215 Lincoln Cathedral Magna Carta will be on loan from the Lincoln Cathedral in England. The document is traveling first to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where it is on display until Sept. 1, and then to the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts from Sept. 6 through Nov. 2. Its final stop in America will be the Library of Congress.
The Library’s 10-week exhibition will feature medieval manuscripts, published works, prints, photographs, maps, posters and annotated draft opinions by justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. The 75 items will be drawn from the collections of the Law Library of Congress and from the following custodial divisions at the Library: Prints and Photographs; Rare Book and Special Collections; Music; Manuscript; Geography and Map; and Serial and Government Publications.
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.
The Law Library of Congress was established in 1832 with the mission to make its resources available to members of Congress, the Supreme Court, other branches of the U.S. government and the global legal community and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of law for future generations.
With more than 5 million items in various formats, the Law Library of Congress contains the world’s largest collection of law books and other resources from all countries and provides online databases and guides to legal information worldwide through its website at www.loc.gov/law/.
The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 158 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats.
For further information about “Magna Carta: Enduring Legacy 1215-2015,” including a list of confirmed dates and locations, visit http://ambar.org/mctravelingexhibit/.