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Lincoln Magna Carta goes on US tour

Lincoln’s Magna Carta will visit the United States this year to be part of three exhibitions celebrating the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the document by King John in June 1215.

The Magna Carta from Lincoln Cathedral will first exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA from July 2 until September 1.

It will be held in the museum’s Art of the Americas Wing alongside other historical loans, as part of an exhibition in partnership with the Massachusetts Historical Society.

The exhibit focuses on Massachusetts’ and America’s relationship with Magna Carta, including artefacts such as the MFA’s Sons of Liberty Bowl (1768) by Paul Revere, engraved with the words “Magna Charta” and “Bill of Rights”, and two manuscript copies of the Declaration of Independence.

Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director at MFA, said: “I am proud to bring Magna Carta to Boston, where it inspired so many Sons of Liberty and Founding Fathers to action, and am grateful to the Lincoln Cathedral for this extraordinary loan.

“This foundational document will hold a place of honor among American masterpieces and colonial treasures that bring some of Massachusetts’ most famous patriots to life.”

The Magna Carta then moves to the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, for an exhibition between September 6 and November, 2.

Michael Conforti, director of the Clark, said” “We are delighted to have the opportunity to bring the Magna Carta to Williamstown and know that this will be a historic moment for our community and for the Clark.

“We are planning an exhibition that underscores the document’s importance as the foundation of the principles that shaped our nation and inspires our visitors to consider anew the notions of democracy and freedom.”

Finally, the charter will exhibit at the Library of Congress in Washington DC, where it will be on display from November 6 2014, until January 19, 2015.

The exhibition will commemorate both the 800th anniversary and the 75th anniversary of the November 1939 deposit of the Lincoln Magna Carta at the library for safekeeping during World War II.

The document was on display at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York when the war began. When the US entered the war, it was taken to both the Library and Fort Knox, then returned to Britain in 1947.
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Librarian of Congress James H. Billington added: “We are honored to place on exhibition Magna Carta, one of the lasting treasures of human history.

“The principles that underlay Magna Carta are the foundation of our liberties, inspiring this country’s Founding Fathers in shaping the U.S. Constitution and the laws of this land.

“We especially welcome the return of the Lincoln King John 1215 Magna Carta, because the Library of Congress played an important role in its safekeeping during World War II.”

The Dean of Lincoln, the Very Reverend Philip Buckler, explained: “The Lincoln Cathedral Magna Carta is a source of great pride for the people of Lincoln and its cathedral.

“It has been met by great enthusiasm whenever it has travelled to the United States in the past and we look forward to it being a source of inspiration to all those who visit the exhibitions, so much so that they are encouraged to come and visit Lincoln — the place where so much of the story begins.”