A new exhibit on the Declaration of Independence is set to open July 1 at the Newseum. “1776 — Breaking News: Independence” will feature one of only 19 known copies of the July 6, 1776, edition of The Pennsylvania Evening Post, which was the first newspaper to publish the newly adopted Declaration of Independence.
Interactive kiosks in the exhibit will allow visitors to zoom in and explore the newspaper in high-definition, while graphic novel-style illustrations in the gallery tell the story of how and why delegates from the 13 American Colonies gathered in Philadelphia to break the bonds of British rule and forge a new nation. A Newseum-produced video, presented as a documentary graphic novel, will feature original animated illustrations and interviews with media figures such as Sebastian Junger and S.E. Cupp.
The 240-year-old newspaper shows the declaration as Americans first saw it — as front-page news. The newspaper’s publisher, Benjamin Towne, scooped his competitors because he was one of the few Colonial printers who published three days a week, rather than once a week. The news did not reach London until more than a month later.
The rare newspaper is on loan to the Newseum from business leader and philanthropist David M. Rubenstein and will be on display indefinitely in the museum’s Pulliam Family History of Liberty Gallery. All four pages of The Pennsylvania Evening Post will be displayed, offering a glimpse into the everyday life of Philadelphians in 1776.
“1776 — Breaking News: Independence” was made possible with generous support from David M. Rubenstein.