WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 (UPI) — U.S. engineers say they are building a state-of-the-art case and transport cart to protect the National Archive’s prized copy of the 1297 Magna Carta.
Engineers with the National Institute of Standards and Technology said the case will provide a controlled environment to visually enhance the parchment while maintaining the interior environment so it does not degrade the document, considered an underpinning of Western civilization and U.S. law.
The first Magna Carta was signed in 1215 by King John of England, forced by an assembly of barons to put in writing, for the first time, the traditional rights and liberties of the country’s free persons.
After another confrontation with barons, King Edward I reissued the Magna Carta in 1297 and it was entered into the official Statute Rolls of England and became the foundation of English law.
The National Archive’s copy of the 1297 document is on loan from philanthropist David M. Rubinstein, who paid for its restoration and encasement.
The Magna Carta will be on display starting this month in the West Rotunda Gallery of the U.S. National Archives Building in Washington.
Alongside three other documents for which NIST built similar enclosures — the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights — it will be on display for the 1 million visitors that pass through the Archives each year, an NIST release said Wednesday.