News Article

Original Emancipation Proclamation on display at National Archives for first time in five years, Sponsored by United Airlines

February 7, 2018

Washington, DC – The original Emancipation Proclamation will be on display at the National Archives Museum’s East Rotunda Gallery February 17-19, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day.

During the 155th anniversary year of the historic record, the National Archives’ presents this rarely seen item, which is revered today as one of the greatest symbols of human freedom. The display is made possible in part through the generous support of United Airlines.

“Of the unending number of treasures stored here at the Archives the Emancipation Proclamation has no equal as a document that connects generations to a pivotal moment in history,” said National Archives Foundation Executive Director Patrick Madden. “The Foundation is grateful to United Airlines for their support of this exhibit and public programs.”  

On January 1, 1863, as the nation entered its third year of civil war, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.” Despite the sweeping language, the Emancipation Proclamation applied only to states that had seceded from the Union. It also exempted many parts of the Confederacy that had already come under Union control and the freedom it promised depended upon Union military victory.

Although its effects were gradual, the Emancipation Proclamation fundamentally transformed the idea of the Civil War as more than a fight to save the Union- But a fight for freedom.

“This historic document, on display for its 155th anniversary, continues to connect people and reflect our shared American history in hopes of breaking down barriers to promote inclusion,” said Brett Hart, Executive Vice President at United Airlines. “United Airlines is committed to supporting programs and institutions, like the National Archives, which foster cultural awareness and inspire the diverse communities we serve.”

The Emancipation Proclamation is displayed only for a limited time each year because of its fragility, which can deteriorate by exposure to light, and the need to preserve it for future generations. The document will be located in the gallery adjacent to the original Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, which are seen by more than 1.2 million visitors each year. More information about the document’s history and free access to high-resolution images are available through the National Archives Foundation’s website.

The National Archives Museum in Washington, DC, is located on Constitution Avenue at 9th Street, NW.  Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The building is Metro accessible on the Yellow and Green lines, Archives/Navy Memorial/Penn Quarter station.

#  #  #

The National Archives Foundation is an independent nonprofit that increases public awareness of the National Archives, inspires a deeper appreciation of our country’s heritage, and encourages citizen engagement in our democracy. The Foundation generates financial and creative support for National Archives exhibitions, public programs, and educational initiatives, introducing America’s records to people around the U.S. and the world. Learn more at:

United Airlines and United Express operate approximately 4,500 flights a day to 338 airports across five continents. In 2017, United and United Express operated more than 1.6 million flights carrying more than 148 million customers. United is proud to have the world’s most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark/New York, and San Francisco. United operates 744 mainline aircraft and the airline’s United Express carriers operate 518 regional aircraft. The airline is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 191 countries via 28 member airlines. For more information, visit, follow @United on Twitter or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United’s parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol “UAL”.

The National Archives is an independent federal agency that serves American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our Government, so people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. The National Archives ensures continuing access to the essential documentation of the rights of American citizens and the actions of their government. From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries, and on the Internet at: The National Archives Museum in Washington, DC, is located on Constitution Avenue at 9th Street, NW.  Museum hours are 10 am to 5:30 pm. The building is Metro accessible on the Yellow and Green lines, Archives/Navy Memorial/Penn Quarter station.

#  #  #

CONTACT: Jim Doumas,