Selected Press

Declaration of Independence Road Trip Fact Sheet

On the night of July 4, 1776, John Dunlap of Philadelphia printed approximately 200 copies of the newly drafted and approved Declaration of Independence.

The Declaration of Independence laid the foundation for personal freedoms and individual rights in the United States.  Beyond serving as a proclamation of independence from Great Britain, it set forth ideals for human rights that have become the blueprint for democracy in America and around the world.  Its words are the basis of the Constitution, the Emancipation Proclamation and the Bill of Rights.
Of the 25 surviving copies of the Dunlap broadside, 21 copies belong to universities, historical societies, public libraries and city halls.  The remaining four are in private hands, although promised to public collections.

This copy of the Declaration, printed on July
4, 1776, is the only one of 25 remaining
Dunlap broadsides traveling the country.

As of 1989, only 24 copies of the Dunlap broadsides were known to exist, until a flea market shopper bought a framed painting for four dollars.  While inspecting a tear in the painting, the owner discovered a folded Dunlap broadside behind it.

This 25th copy of the Dunlap broadside was authenticated by Sotheby’s and an independent expert.  In June 2000, Lyn and Norman Lear purchased the document on Sotheby’s online auction. Lear’s goal for this program is to bring the “People’s Document” directly to the American people.

The Declaration of Independence (DOI) Road Trip was founded to take a rare, original copy of the Declaration of Independence on a three-and-a-half year cross-country tour.

The DOI Road Trip’s mission is to engage and energize all Americans, particularly young people, by bringing the Declaration to them — to where they live, small town or big city.  This non-profit nonpartisan project hopes to inspire Americans to participate in civic activism, to exercise their rights and to vote.  The Declaration of Independence Road Trip will travel to cities and towns across the United States, creatively combining elements of education, entertainment, and community outreach.  The Road Trip is proudly sponsored by The Home Depot.  The United States Postal Service is the “Official Carrier” of the DOI Road Trip.

The project is led by Honorary Co-Chairs and former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford.  The advisory board and partners include leaders from education, business, civic, youth service, cultural, entertainment, media and government organizations.

The Declaration of Independence has been recently featured at the Reagan, Bush and Carter Presidential Libraries as well as at the 2001 Super Bowl and the 2002 Olympic games in Salt Lake City.  The Southern leg of the three-and-a-half year cross-country tour will kick-off on Sept. 11 in Charleston, S.C., and continue throughout the Southeast for the remainder of 2002.  These chosen cities include the following:

  • Charleston, S.C., Sept. 11 – Sept. 19
    The Old Exchange Building
  • Camden, S.C., Sept. 22 – Sept. 23

Camden Museum & Archives

  • Charlotte, N.C., Sept. 26 – Oct. 6
    The Charlotte Museum of History
  • Beaufort, N.C., Oct. 8

Beaufort Historical Site – 1796 Courthouse

  • Raleigh, N.C., Oct. 12 – Oct. 20
    North Carolina Museum of History
  • Louisville, Ky., Oct. 26 – Nov. 3
    Louisville Free Public Library
  • Danville, Ky., Nov. 4 – Nov. 5

Norton Center for the Arts at Centre College

  • Nashville, Tenn., Nov. 9 – Nov. 21
    Nashville Public Library
  • Oxford, Miss., Dec. 3 – Dec. 4

The University of Mississippi

  • Jackson, Miss., Dec. 7 – Dec. 15

Mississippi State Capitol – “New Capitol”

For many, this will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view the Declaration of Independence.  The multimedia exhibition presents the document in both historical and contemporary contexts.  Historical and current photographs, video and music illustrate the lasting values and ideals embodied by the revered document that first set forth the celebrated words – “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.”  The exhibition also highlights social and political movements that helped shape the United States and continue to influence countries around the world.

The exhibit will also feature a reading of the Declaration of Independence from inside Independence Hall in Philadelphia by a group of distinguished actors, including Mel Gibson, Kathy Bates, Benicio Del Toro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Whoopi Goldberg, Graham Greene, Ming-Na, Edward Norton, Winona Ryder, Kevin Spacey and Renee Zellweger.

The reading was directed by Arvin Brown, filmed by cinematographer Conrad Hall, and scored by John Williams.  Co-executive producers are Norman Lear and Rob Reiner.  This film will be distributed along with curriculum materials as a unique educational package — bringing history to life for the next generation of Americans.

THE WEB SITE serves as a destination for those interested in the project, featuring tour schedules, press materials, photographs and videos that describe the project and engage viewers from around the country.  It also features an interactive exhibit where visitors learn more about the key ideas put forth in the Declaration.  The site is a full resource center, designed to encourage civic participation through an online voter registration function, as well as lists of civic engagements and historical resources.

To reinforce the project’s mission to inspire young people to appreciate and participate in civic activism, the DOI Road Trip has partnered with Scholastic Inc., the global children’s publishing and media company, to create The Declaration of Independence: A Living Blueprint for Democracy, an in-school integrated curriculum that will be distributed to 100,000 social studies teachers in middle and high-schools nationwide in October 2002.

The multi-dimensional box kit will contain standards-based, grade-appropriate materials: an educator’s guide with background information and helpful tips on teaching the curriculum; a poster to hang in the classroom; a 14-minute video containing a brief history of the Declaration along with a powerful reading of this important document by a group of distinguished actors; and student magazines containing articles and stories highlighting the Declaration’s relevance for today.  The curriculum will also be available on the Declaration of Independence Road Trip Web site ( to download for free at the end of October 2002.

The Home Depot is a proud sponsor of the Declaration of Independence Road Trip.  Together, with the DOI Road Trip project, The Home Depot seeks to increase awareness of the values and ideals that founded this great country and to inspire Americans to build a better tomorrow together.

Community involvement and initiatives that help to build America’s spirit have been important values for The Home Depot since the company was founded.  In line with the goal of the Declaration of Independence Road Trip, The Home Depot believes that bringing the Declaration to communities across the country will be a catalyst to inspire Americans—especially young people—to participate in civic activism, to exercise their rights and above all, to vote.

Founded in 1978 in Atlanta, The Home Depot is the world’s largest home improvement retailer and currently operates 1,363 stores in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico.  The company employs more than 250,000 people.