Celebrate Independence Day with N.C.’s Original Bill of Rights at the N.C. Museum of History


North Carolina’s copy of its original Bill of Rights will be displayed for a limited time in a lobby case at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh, June 29 through July 7. 

Rarely removed from the State Archives’ climate-controlled vault, this document has a dramatic story. A coalition of North Carolinians refused to ratify the original U.S. Constitution until a “Declaration of Rights,” protecting individual liberties, was included. James Madison crafted the language for what became the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution or the “Bill of Rights.”  

An original copy of the Bill of Rights was created for each of the 13 original states. North Carolina’s copy was held in the State Capitol building until, in 1865, it was stolen by a Union soldier. Recovered in an FBI sting operation almost 150 years later, North Carolina’s official copy of the Bill of Rights resides in one of two vaults in the State Archives. 
“This document guarantees freedom and liberties to United States citizens,” stated Sarah Koonts, State Archivist. “The Bill of Rights belongs to all the people in our state. As the custodians of it, we are happy to have the opportunity to exhibit this treasure from time to time.” 
Seldom displayed because of its fragile condition, the public will be able to view this document for eight days, from June 29 through July 7. 

For information about the NC Museum of History, a Smithsonian-affiliated museum, call 919-814-7000 or access ncmuseumofhistory.org or follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube.