Press Release


Freedom:  A History of US -- Exhibition to Open at

North Manchester Center for History


Two notable collections of American documents and photographs featured in the traveling exhibition Freedom:  A History of US will soon be on display at the North Manchester Center for History, 122 East Main Street.


Beginning Wednesday, October 16, visitors to the Center for History can view reproductions of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Emancipation Proclamation, manuscript letters from George Washington and Fredrick Douglas, type-written speeches from FDR and Martin Luther King, Jr. and more.  The Center for History hosts traveling exhibits from the Indiana Historical Society three times each year.  The exhibit is at the Center for a limited time:  The last day for viewing is Tuesday, November 19.


Freedom:  A History of US is composed of 48 freestanding panels and divided into six thematic sections, including:  The Founding Era, Young Republic, The Nation Dividing:  The Firebell in the Night, The Union Threatened, The Union Preserved, Emancipation and Epilogue.


Freedom documents and illustrates the importance of people and events that trace the evolving principle of freedom from the nation’s founding until 1968.  The exhibition features personal letters, documents and broadsides from the Gilder Lehrman Collection, previously unavailable to the public, and invites visitors to read the words and see the images of men and women who arrived in this land by choice or in chain and forged the nation.


Among the highlights of the panel exhibit are a rare 1776 printing of the Declaration of Independence, a secretly printed draft and official copy of the US Constitution, Lincoln’s handwritten notes of speeches and letters by leading figures such as Frederick Douglas, Susan B. Anthony and others.


With generous support from GE, six traveling Freedom exhibits toured to 20 US cities in 2003.  After the tour ended, the Indiana Historical Society was chosen as the permanent home for one of the traveling exhibitions.  The Society was able to extend the use of the exhibit by adding it to the IHS Traveling Exhibition Program, offering smaller historical societies and museums in Indiana communities the chance to showcase the exhibit.


The North Manchester Historical Society operates in a town of fewer than 6,000, but generates the interest and volunteer support to operate the Center for History and Thomas Marshall House museums, provide dinner/lecture programs attended by over 100 people each month, publish a quarterly newsletter, host semi-annual tours to places of historic interest, and actively participate in historic preservation efforts and local community events.  It cares for a collection that has grown from 2,200 to over 25,000 artifacts in the past 12 years.  Its website is           

Since 1830, the Indiana Historical Society has been Indiana’s Storyteller ™, connecting people to the past by collecting, preserving, interpreting and disseminating the state’s history.  A private, nonprofit membership organization, IHS maintains the nation’s premier research library and archives on the history of Indiana and the Old Northwest.  IHS also provides support and assistance to local museums and historical groups, publishes books and periodicals; sponsors teacher workshops; and provides youth, adult and family programming.