On July 1, the Newseum will open “1776 — Breaking News: Independence,” a new exhibit featuring one of only 19 known copies of the July 6, 1776, edition of The Pennsylvania Evening Post, the first newspaper to publish the newly adopted Declaration of Independence. The rare newspaper is on loan to the Newseum from business leader and philanthropist David M. Rubenstein and will be on display in the museum’s Pulliam Family History of Liberty Gallery through 2017.
“This extraordinary 240-year-old newspaper shows the Declaration of Independence as Americans first saw it — as front page news,” said Cathy Trost, senior vice president of exhibits and programs at the Newseum. “The words and images of America’s revolution come alive in this exhibit in dramatic graphic novel form to tell the story of how the Colonial press fanned the flames and spread the news of the fight for freedom.”
All four pages of The Pennsylvania Evening Post will be displayed. Other pages of the newspaper offer a glimpse into the everyday life of Philadelphians in the 18th century. Among the items listed for sale in advertisements are sugar, spirits and very fine hay “of this year’s growth.” Another listing offers a $2 reward for the safe return of a 5-year-old brown horse that had strayed from its owner’s pasture.
Interactive kiosks in the exhibit allow visitors to zoom in and explore the newspaper in high definition. Illustrated panels around the gallery use the format of a graphic novel to 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 journalist Sebastian Junger, political commentator S.E. Cupp and “The Daily Show” contributor Lewis Black.
On July 7, the Newseum will host a members-only reception and program featuring Rubenstein and Newseum president and CEO Jeffrey Herbst, who will discuss how the news of freedom spread through the world and played a crucial role in uniting American colonists behind the cause of independence.
“1776 — Breaking News: Independence” was made possible with generous support from David M. Rubenstein.