July 2, 1999
President and First Lady Join National Archives in Accepting AT&T Gift for "Charters of Freedom Project"
America's Charters of Freedom—the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights—will be preserved by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in a new educational setting with the help of a gift for which President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton thanked the AT&T Corporation at a ceremony yesterday to launch the National Archives "Charters of Freedom Project."
AT&T is giving $1 million to the project, the purpose of which is to preserve the Charters for continued public display, create exhibits to explain their meaning, and renovate the National Archives Building for research and education about them.
AT&T Chairman and CEO Michael Armstrong announced the gift at a ceremony hosted by the White House Millennium Council and NARA in the Archives building's rotunda, where the Charters have been viewed by thousands of visitors annually since 1952. The President, the First Lady, and Archivist of the United States John Carlin thanked Mr. Armstrong for AT&T's leadership in NARA's campaign to raise private funds for the Charters of Freedom Project. Mr. Carlin also thanked the President, the First Lady, and the Congress for their support for the project, which will be funded as a public/private partnership.
"We at the National Archives and Records Administration are proud to be our Nation's record keepers," Archivist Carlin said. "We safeguard records of all three branches of the Federal Government. We meet an almost unlimited range of information needs through a national network of records services facilities from Washington, DC, to Washington State, and from Atlanta to Anchorage. Every day, we provide public access to records on which the rights of citizens, the credibility of government, and the accuracy of history depend. And of all the millions of records in our care, none is more important than the Charters of Freedom displayed in this rotunda—the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. With the support of the Administration, the Congress, AT&T, and others we hope will also contribute, we will make visiting the Charters in the 21st century an experience that no school child and no citizen will want to miss."
For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or by e-mail.