National Treasure

The Museum Center debuts a relic of American independence.
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Attention Patriots: Historians at the Cincinnati Museum Center recently authenticated a 239-year-old Holt Broadside copy of the Declaration of Independence from their archives, now on display for the first time as part of the new exhibit Treasures of our Military Past.

“As far as we can tell, [our Holt Broadside] is one of only four in existence,” says Scott Gampfer, director of the library and history collections at CMC. “When Christie’s authenticated it, it was the first one they were able to examine both front and back.”

The Declaration of Independence.
The Declaration of Independence.

Photograph courtesy the Cincinnati Museum Center

Manufactured by New York pressman John Holt in 1776 (duh), the document includes the New York Provincial Congress resolution of approval—thereby securing unanimous endorsement among the colonies for the Declaration’s passing. The broadside has been in the museum’s hands since 1870—donated by the family of Cincinnati’s first “pork-packer” Richard Fosdick—but it wasn’t until recently that they settled on a proper exhibition for it.

Gampfer says that, going forward, the broadside will likely get put on display each year for Independence Day. “When you know the significance of it,” he says, “and how rare it is, it’s just really, really neat to have.”

Treasures of our Military Past is open all month. On July 16, you can learn more about the exhibit while sipping cocktails with the exhibit curator David Conzett, more info at cincymuseum.org.

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