March 11, 2013
After being on exhibit at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s copy of the Acts of Congress has begun a 13 site tour at the National Archives’ Presidential Libraries. On a cold February morning the Acts of Congress left Mount Vernon and traveled 2,715 miles across the country to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, CA. From there it will crisscross the United States traveling over 12,000 miles before returning to Mount Vernon and its new home at the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington this fall. The Acts of Congress tour is an opportunity for people to view a piece of George Washington history who would be otherwise unable to visit Mount Vernon.
Many of the libraries will highlight pieces from their own collections in conjunction with the Acts of Congress. The Reagan Library is displaying:
- An 1823 Stone Copy of the Declaration of Independence
- A July 13, 1796 letter written by President George Washington to his Secretary of War, James McHenry, in which President Washington complains of pirate activity along the Barbary Coast
- A memorandum from King George III, showing the King’s reluctance to acknowledge the independence of the 13 American Colonies from Great Britain (on loan from the Huntington Library)
If you look closely at the photo below you can see a small silver box in the back right corner of the exhibit case. This box contains silica gel which stabilizes the humidity and helps maintain the same environment the book is accustomed to at Mount Vernon.
At the Reagan Library, the Acts of Congress is open to pages 8 & 9 as seen in the images below. Visitors will be able to see where Washington marked a variety of responsibilities which he labeled “President,” “Powers,” and “Required.”
The book was welcomed with an opening reception and a ribbon cutting to kick off the 13 site tour.
You can see Washington’s Acts of Congress at the Reagan Presidential Library and Museum through March 19, 2013. For more information about the Acts of Congress at the Reagan Library, click here.
To find out when Washington’s Acts of Congress will be near you, see the National Archives Acts of Congress Tour Schedule.
Coordinator of Education Outreach and Leadership Programming
**A special thank you goes out to Michele Lee, Special Collections Librarian, for her help with this post**