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Alabama constitutions on display in Huntsville for Independence Day

As the nation prepares to celebrate Independence Day on Thursday and over a long weekend, those in north Alabama can experience a special exhibit at the Huntsville Museum of Art.

Entitled “We the People: Alabama’s Defining Documents,” the exhibition was specially curated and designed by staff from the Alabama Department of Archives and History.

The exhibit features all six of Alabama’s constitutions, along with the 1861 ordinance of secession which declared the state’s separation from the Union on the eve of the Civil War.

This marks the first time these historic records have been displayed together outside of Montgomery, where they are normally housed at the Department of Archives and History.

Additionally, this is the first public display of any of the documents since they recently underwent extensive conservation work by the Northeast Document Conservation Center in Andover, Massachusetts.

The choice of the Rocket City for this special exhibit is certainly not by accident.

In the summer of 1819, 44 delegates met in Huntsville to draft Alabama’s first constitution, the defining document that provided the framework for the state’s government and soon made Alabama the 22nd of the United States.

Now, 200 years later, the Constitution of 1819 is returning to the city.

The exhibit opened on June 30 and will run through August 11.

“These state constitutions are rarely displayed in public, and it’s even more unusual for them to come all the way from Montgomery where they usually are kept at the state archives building. So, we hope that the residents of north Alabama will take opportunity of the exhibit here at the Huntsville Museum of Art,” Steve Murray, Department of Archives director, told WHNT.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

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