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'Freedom' exhibit arrives at Perham museum--in time for Independence Day

The traveling exhibit, "Freedom: A History of U.S.," opened July 1 at the ITOW Veterans Museum in Perham.

The exhibit will be on display through July 31. The ITOW Veterans Museum is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sunday 1-4. Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for students. Admission is free for everyone on July 4th. Veterans are admitted free every day.

The exhibit, which has been developed by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of New York, documents and illustrates critical figures and events in U.S. history while tracing the evolving concept of freedom from its founding. Among the highlights of the collection are a secretly printed draft and official copy of the U.S. Constitution, Lincoln's handwritten notes of speeches, and letters by leading figures such as Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony and Martin Luther King. Some of the more poignant descriptions of the meaning of freedom to the common man are found in the personal letters of Civil War Soldiers, which speak to the pain and pride of fighting for national ideals.

Also on display will be a rare, early edition of the Declaration of Independence. The fragile document is on loan to the museum from a private collector. In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson based the colonists' right to separate on the King's denial of their freedom--their "inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Yet for over 225 years, the principle of freedom and our understanding of its implications have evolved. The debates, decisions, and battles of our past shape the United States in which we live today.

The exhibition: Freedom: A History of U.S., invites the modern-day viewer into the lives of the men and women who forged this nation, whether they arrived in this land by choice or in chains. Their words and images provide insight into the complexity of the past. Documents and photographs from the Civil War, a pivotal period in the nation's history, will illustrate how Americans succeeded in redefining the meaning of freedom. We hope that the legacy of their struggle will resonate for Americans as they face the challenges of today and of the future.

For more information call 218-346-7678 or visit