Emancipation Proclamation Turns 150!

Although 150 is a respectable age for any document, a paper of such significance as Emancipation Proclamation deserves a special celebration for this milestone.

The 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation at the National Archives kicks off on December 30, 2012 with a rare (this only happens a few days a year) public viewing of the original official sealed manuscript. It will continue through January 24, 2013 with film viewings, performances and presentations. You can see the entire schedule here.

Preservation of the Proclamation is not easy. Printed on a poor quality machine-made paper, it has already sustained considerable damage from light and frequent handling, which is why it is so rarely on display. It has been carefully treated and the weak paper support has been mended and reinforced using the latest conservation techniques. The folio, which is folded and tied with a ribbon, has paper with an alkaline reserve placed behind (for possible acid-migration), then it is sealed between two layers of clear inert Mylar. When not on display, the framed document is placed in a four-flap folder, which goes inside a custom box, so it’s completely light and element safe.