Governor Bill Haslam announces Dec. 12 the original Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln on Jan. 1, 1863, will be on display at the Tennessee State Museum. (Photo courtesy of Tennessee Government)
NASHVILLE – Gov. Bill Haslam today announced the Tennessee State Museum will be the only stop in the Southeast of an unprecedented tour and display of the Emancipation Proclamation, the document that altered the course of American history and dramatically changed the lives of African-Americans by proclaiming freedom for millions of slaves.
The fragile manuscript signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 can only be exposed to light for 72 hours while in Tennessee. The document will be displayed at intervals during a to-be-determined, six-day period in 2013 marking the 150th anniversary of its signing.
The tour of the historic decree, which rarely leaves the National Archives in Washington, D.C., is taking place in conjunction with the acclaimed National Archives multimedia exhibit Discovering the Civil War, which will open at the state museum on Feb. 12, 2013 – Lincoln’s birthday – and continue through Sept. 2, 2013.
“It is an incredible honor for Tennessee to host the Emancipation Proclamation, a document whose significance to the history of this country, and this region in particular, cannot be overstated,” Haslam said. “This delicate manuscript represents America’s recognition that all are entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and we invite people from across the Southeast and the nation to see and celebrate with us the moment our country officially became the land of the free.”
The Emancipation Proclamation linked the preservation of American constitutional government to the end of slavery and has become one of the country’s most treasured documents.
Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, formally proclaiming the freedom of all slaves held in areas still in revolt.
The Discovering the Civil War exhibit, which will continue well beyond the Emancipation Proclamation’s six day viewing, is the culmination of 150 years of analysis, interpretation, and opinion on the Civil War through lesser-known stories and perspectives, and previously unseen documents.
Discovering the Civil War was created by the National Archives, Records Administration and the Foundation for the National Archives.
“Discovering the Civil War is a fresh, interactive exploration of a well known historic chapter, piecing together original letters, diaries, photos, maps, petitions, receipts, patents, amendments and proclamations to portray the Civil War through a vibrant multimedia experience,” said Lois Riggins-Ezzell, executive director of the Tennessee State Museum. “The unique approach of the exhibit and the great relevance of the National Archives make it all the more gratifying that Nashville has been chosen as the sole southeastern city located in the heart of the former Confederacy for an installation.”
The exhibit will feature 12 themed sections that combine original treasures enhanced by interactive features and social media tools, allowing visitors to see the past through the lens of the future. Diverse themes of Discovering the Civil War include “Spies and Conspiracies,” “Prisoners and Casualties,” “Emancipation,” “Global War” and “Raising Armies.”
The Tennessee State Museum is located in downtown Nashville, at 505 Deaderick St.
For more information, visit tnmuseum.org.