The Foundation for the National Archives has received a $13.5 million gift from philanthropist David M. Rubenstein. This gift, the largest single contribution ever received by the Foundation for the National Archives, will help create a new permanent exhibition gallery as well as a visitor orientation plaza at the Archives’ flagship building in Washington, DC.
In announcing the gift David Rubenstein said, “I am honored to assist the National Archives as it works to remind Americans — and all visitors — of the sacred freedoms we are privileged to have in this country.”
Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero said, “David Rubenstein is a true patriot. He understood the significance and relevance of the Magna Carta to our nation’s history and ensured that Americans would have an opportunity to view the document by purchasing it and placing it on permanent loan at the National Archives. Through his continued generosity, citizens will soon be able to view this milestone document in the context of the evolving story of America’s struggle for freedom. We are extremely grateful to David for his foresight and generous gift in order to make this possible.”
Rubenstein’s gift, along with additional funds raised by the Foundation and from Congressional appropriations, will be used to expand the visitor and researcher experience at the National Archives Experience at the National Archives Building in downtown Washington, D.C.
The new spaces, slated for completion in 2013, will include an expanded exhibition hall, to be named the David M. Rubenstein Gallery, that will showcase original documents that chronicle the expansion of rights across the centuries. The exhibition will add context to the nation’s founding documents – the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights. The opening feature of the new gallery will be the 1297 Magna Carta, on loan from David Rubenstein.
Rubenstein’s copy of the 1297 Magna Carta is the only copy of the landmark British document on permanent display in the United States. Rubenstein purchased the document at auction in 2007 and offered it on a permanent loan to the National Archives.
In addition to the Rubenstein Gallery the gift will help support the development of a new visitor orientation plaza that will introduce people from around the National Archives and an expanded retail/research space that will encourage visitors to continue their experience by
conducting their own research at the National Archives or by accessing web-based resources from their own homes and schools. The plaza will enhance the understanding of options available during a visit, especially for visitors travelling in large groups.