THE WHITE HOUSE AT WORK
Thursday, July 1, 1999
PRESIDENT CLINTON AND FIRST LADY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON:
COMMEMORATING THE PRESERVATION OF OUR CHARTERS OF FREEDOM
- "By employing the finest minds and the latest technologies to preserve these charters of freedom for generations yet unborn, we are, as the First Lady has said, ‘honoring the past and imagining the future.'"
- President Bill Clinton
- July 1, 1999
Today, as part of their Independence Day commemoration, President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton highlighted efforts at the National Archives and Records Administration to preserve our nation's charters of freedom. The Charters of Freedom Project will improve the preservation of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, as well as increase their accessibility and enhance their exhibition to encourage a deeper understanding of their influence on our democracy. The President and Mrs. Clinton acknowledged those who have answered their call to save America's treasures by supporting the Project: AT&T, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the U.S. Congress.
Promoting The Charters of Freedom Project. The President and First Lady visited the National Archives and Records Administration to promote its Charters of Freedom Project. The Project's goal is to improve the preservation and exhibition of the nation's charters as we approach the next millennium. The work of the Project involves:
- Re-encasing the charters to replace the existing glass which has evidence of deterioration;
- Increasing accessibility to the Constitution and Bill of Rights to visitors in wheelchairs; and
- Expanding the charters' display and interpretation to include all four pages of the Constitution as well as George Washington's transmittal page.
The long-term vision for the Project includes adding an introductory exhibit, education center, temporary exhibit gallery, family history center, restored Rotunda murals, conference rooms, and new theater.
In his 1999 budget, the President proposed and Congress appropriated $4 million to re-encase the nation's charters. The Pew Charitable Trusts provided $800,000 in additional support, and today AT&T announced a $1 million contribution to the Charters of Freedom Project.
Saving America's Treasures. Two years ago, President Clinton announced the formation of the White House Millennium Council, and he and Mrs. Clinton called on Americans to commemorate this unique time in history by working to "save America's treasures." In response to their call to action:
- Congress and private donors have together provided nearly $20 million to preserve the Star-Spangled Banner at the National Museum of American History;
- 62 projects nationwide have received funding from the new Save America's Treasures federal grants program; and
- the Save America's Treasures Millennium Committee, in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Park Foundation, and Heritage Preservation, Inc., have raised $33 million in private funds to restore historic sites, collections, monuments, and documents.
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