Spectacles and Inkwell, late 1700s – 1830
Courtesy of Preservation Virginia’s John Marshall House
Back for a limited time only, March 3 – July 30, 2017
Created by the National Constitution Center, American Spirits uses a mix of artifacts and engaging visitor activities to take you back in time to the dawn of the temperance movement, through the Roaring ’20s, and to the unprecedented repeal of a constitutional amendment.
The 5,000 square foot exhibit features over 100 rare artifacts including:
American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition has been critically acclaimed for its immersive visitor experience. Visitors can:
National Constitution Center visitors can add the Center’s original exhibit American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition exhibit to their visit for an additional $3. Members see it free join now.
American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition was made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.
John Marshall Papers, Special Collections Research Center, William & Mary Libraries
John Marshall: Patriot, Statesman, Chief Justice explores the influential career of John Marshall during the early years of a new nation. Visitors will learn about Marshall’s experience as a soldier in the American Revolution, his early career as a leading lawyer in Virginia, including his role as a key supporter of the U.S. Constitution during the Virginia ratifying convention. Marshall’s career in national politics is highlighted as well, showcasing his tenure in the House of Representatives and his service as President Adams’s secretary of state. The exhibit also traces Marshall’s constitutional legacy as our nation’s fourth chief justice. This includes landmark decisions such as Marbury v. Madison and McCulloch v. Maryland, his rivalry with President Thomas Jefferson and other Democratic-Republicans, and his efforts to forge bipartisan consensus and unanimity on the early Supreme Court.
The exhibit showcases nearly 30 historic documents and rare artifacts, including Marshall’s traveling desk from the 1797 XYZ Affair (Preservation Virginia), his spectacles (Preservation Virginia), John Adams’s nomination of Marshall as chief justice (National Archives), an 1835 portrait of Marshall by Henry Inman (Philadelphia Bar Association), and an autobiographical letter written by Marshall in 1827 (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan).
Also displayed in John Marshall: Patriot, Statesman, Chief Justice:
John Marshall: Patriot, Statesman, Chief Justice is presented in partnership with The John Marshall Foundation.
Lead sponsors for the exhibit are: Bank of America, Cozen O’Connor, Pepper Hamilton LLP, and The Philadelphia Contributionship. Additional sponsors are: Pennsylvania Bar Association and Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Commission on Judicial Independence. The National Constitution Center and The John Marshall Foundation are grateful for these sponsorships.
As a bonus for our website users, the National Constitution Center’s American Treasures Interactive (at http://treasures.constitutioncenter.org/) lets you browse four rare draft copies of the Constitution and its first printed final version.
These documents are part of our new exhibit, American Treasures: Documenting the Nation’s Founding, which explores the drafting of the U.S. Constitution in 1787, highlighting the key proposals and significant compromises that influenced the early drafts and shaped the document’s final text.
Exhibit visitors are introduced to the crucial figures who played a role in shaping the Constitution – from James Madison to James Wilson, America’s most important champion of popular sovereignty, or government by “We the People,” and Gouverneur Morris, often credited as the primary writer of the Constitution’s final text.
The exhibit includes some of the most significant constitutional treasures in American history, tracing the origin of the new form of government created by the Framers here in Philadelphia during the summer of 1787.
From the vast collections of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, these treasures include:
You can examine these five documents and learn about important facts and revisions at our Interactive presentation at https://constitutioncenter.org/treasures.
And if you are interested in seeing the exhibit in person, click on the Visit link on that page or go to https://constitutioncenter.org/experience/exhibitions/feature-exhibitions.
American Treasures: Documenting the Nation’s Founding was created in partnership with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.