ABILENE — One of the last original copies of the Declaration of Independence and a visit from a famed television producer will highlight a week of activities beginning Monday at the Dwight Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum.
On public display starting Tuesday will be a “Dunlap Broadside,” one of the original printing run of 200 copies of the Declaration that were printed overnight on July 4, 1776, and distributed to the colonies to drum up support for independence. Only 25 still exist.
The document is identical to the Declaration displayed at the Library of Congress and actually predates the better-known caligraphy version at the National Archives in Washington.
“It’s basically taking this document to the people rather than the people having to travel to Washington DC to see it,” said museum spokeswoman Samantha Kenner.
Television producer Norman Lear, whose family foundation owns the Broadside, will start off a week of observances with remarks at a reception at 6 p.m. Monday at the library.
Lear is best known for producing a string of hit shows in the 1970s including All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Good Times, Maude, One Day at a Time and Sanford and Son. He is also known as a longtime supporter of progressive, civil rights and First Amendment causes and is founder of People for the American Way.
Monday’s event will also feature private viewing of the Declaration and a performance reading by the Great Plains Theatre.
The document will be formally delivered to the museum at 6:45 a.m. Tuesday by a horseback rider in colonial garb, who will be greeted with patriotic songs by the Abilene High School Band. After a reading on the steps of the library, the document will be displayed from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.
Other activities will include special exhibits on the Revolutionary War, voter registration, historical re-enactors and an oversized replica of the Declaration for visitors to sign.
The event will conclude with a showing of the movie “National Treasure,” in which the Declaration plays a substantial role, at 7 p.m. Thursday.
During the course of the celebration, admission to the library and museum is being reduced to $5 for adults and free for children 18 and younger.
For information or reservations, call the library at 785-263-6700 or 877-RING-IKE.