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Magna Carta

The National Archives Repairs Famous Document the Magna Carta

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One of the world's most famous documents, the Magna Carta, has been repaired and is now on display at the National Archives. This version of the Magna Carta was written over 715 years ago in England. It is owned by David Rubinstein who purchased it from billionaire Ross Perot in 2007 for $21.3 million.

When Rubinstein purchased the document he wanted it to stay in the United States and be restored. He also wanted the Magna Carta on display for all to see. He agreed to lend it to the National Archives and to fund the historic document's restoration. David provided $13.5 million in funding for the restoration of the document as well as the glass case and the gallery where the document will be displayed.

The restoration process was detailed and complex. Conservators (people who work on old documents) carefully removed old patches and glue from the Magna Carta. They also filled in holes with special handmade papers from Korea and Japan.

The display case where the Magna Carta is kept is also special. It is filled with humidified argon gas which will help protect the document and keep it from contact with oxygen, which can be harmful to the paper. The document rests on special cotton paper and the lighting in the room is filtered so harmful rays won't cause further damage; all to keep the newly restored document in perfect condition.

The Magna Carta

The Magna Carta is considered the first document that guaranteed the rights of the average citizen from the king of England. It set the groundwork for English common law and, later, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Magna Carta document

The original Magna Carta was written in 1215 when the people demanded certain rights from King John of England. It stated that the king could not impose his will on any citizen and that "freemen" could not be punished except through the law. The copy on display was actually written 1297 and has the seal of King Edward I of England.

Before the American Revolution, the English colonies in America asserted to King George that they had the same rights as any Englishman under the Magna Carta. However, King George said they didn't. The colonists felt they had no choice but to break away and form their own country in order to protect their rights.

Where is the National Archives?

If you want to see the Magna Carta you can go to the National Archives building. It is located on the National Mall in Washington D.C. There are lots of other famous documents there including the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Louisiana Purchase Treaty.

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