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Damage to the Declaration

  • By Susan K. Lewis
  • Posted 02.15.05
  • NOVA

More than a million people visit the U.S. National Archives each year to see the Declaration of Independence. Some are startled by its worn appearance, so unlike the posters hanging in schools. But Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler and Kitty Nicholson know differently. These National Archives conservators have examined every smudge and crease of the original. Here, pore over the faded original yourself, compare it to a pristine copy called the Stone Engraving, and read the conservators' notes.

Launch Interactive

Explore a high-resolution image of the original Declaration of Independence and compare it to a pristine copy.

This feature originally appeared on the site for the NOVA program Saving the National Treasures.

Credits

Photos

(Declaration of Independence, Stone Engraving)
Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration

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