Bill of Rights on display until July 7

Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.


RALEIGH — North Carolina’s copy of its original Bill of Rights will be displayed through July 7 in a lobby case at the North Carolina Museum of History.

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.”