Washington Travel Blog› entry 63 of 66 › view all entries
The 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta by King John at Runnymeade will be celebrated in 2015. To refelct on the importance of this landmark legal document in the constitutional hsitory of the United Kingdom and the Unted States, the Library of Congress held an exhibit from November 2011 to January 2015 entitled "Magna Carta: Muse & Mentor". We went to see it on January 2.
The centpiece of the exhibt is one of the original copies of the Magna Carta written in 1215 and on deposit in Lincoln Cathedral since then. It was extrordinary to see the actual 1215 mansucript document, of which only four copies are known to exist, and even more extrordinary to be permitted to photograph it. The Magna Carta was a statement of the rights of King John's nobles agaist his capricious rule.
Magna Carta is also shown in popular culture, as this King John was the same one who was harassed by Robin Hood.
This is not the first time this copy of Magna Carta has traveled to America. It was on display at the New ork World's Fair in 1939-1940 and then kept at the Library of Congress and Fort Knox during World War II. When it returns to England, the Lincoln Cathedral Magna Carta as it is known will be on permanent display at Lincoln Castle.