Thursday, February 14, 2013

Emacipation Proclamation in Nashville, Tennessee

The Emancipation Proclamation that is on display in Nashville, Tennessee was handwritten by Abraham Lincoln. This original document rarely leaves the National Archives The original Emancipation Proclamation in Nashville is part of the larger exhibit Discovering the Civil War.

Was there another document that profoundly changed life for a segment of our population? I can't think of one. Change literally came overnight to our country. Slave ownership in the south came to a screeching halt. African-Americans were freed to build their own lives, marry and have families.

The Tennessee State Museum is only allowed to display the
Emancipation Proclamation in Nashville under very strict rules. Several years ago it was found that improper handling had caused the document to become extremely fragile. The National Archives had to take action to ensure that the document is available to as many future generations as possible.

The Tennessee State Museum can only display it from February 12-18, 2013. During that time period, the original Emancipation Proclamation is being displayed in a special case and only under low light conditions. It can be viewed for only 72 hours and that time is being spread out over the week.

Museum admission is free. However; tickets to see the original Emancipation Proclamation are needed and were available in advance for a small fee. The Tennessee State Museum reports that the advance reservation  limit was reached earlier in February. However; some tickets are available daily for people without a reservation.

The Discovering the Civil War exhibit contains items that have never been on public exhibit. One of these is the South Carolina 1860 declaration of secession. Other artifacts include letters, personal diaries, photographs and even petitions.

After the original Emancipation Proclamation in Nashville is off display, a copy will be available for viewing. Discovering the Civil War will only be at the Tennessee State Museum until September 1. Museum hours and dates are available online

I'm surprised and honored that Nashville gets to display the Emancipation Proclamation. What do you think?