Edit ModuleShow Tags

We the People


In this election year, it’s hard to watch or read any news that doesn’t devolve into rancorous partisanship. Yet while politicians publicly debate the role our government must have in our lives, as citizens we should all know a little bit more about our rights and responsibilities in a representative democracy. What better way to learn about America’s “grand experiment,” than to go to the source: The Constitution.

Beginning next Tuesday, visitors to the Minnesota History Center will have the opportunity to see a rare first printed copy of The Constitution dating from 1787; only eight copies still exist. An even more rare draft of the Bill of Rights also will be included in the display. Original editions of two state of Minnesota Constitutions also will be on display through July 4, 2012. These historic documents provide a unique “first-hand look at how our government came to be,” says Stephen Elliott, Minnesota Historical Society director and CEO.

The final draft of U.S. Constitution was signed on Sept. 17, 1787, and sent to the printing house of Dunlap & Claypole, according to information provided by The Minnesota History Center. Working through the night the printer created the first official printing of the six-page document—a copy of which is on display.

Why two state constitutions in this exhibit? In 1857, territorial residents elected delegates to a state constitutional convention. Democrats and Republicans couldn’t get along. (Sound familiar?) While a conference committee was able to create language for the Constitution that was acceptable to both parties, delegates refused to sign a document containing signatures of the other faction’s members. And you thought today’s politics … I’m not going to finish that sentence. So there are two documents. And while they were intended to be identical, according to the History Center a close examination will reveal more than 300 punctuation, grammatical, and wording differences. No substantive differences in meaning exist.

It’s stories like these that remind us that our current political climate may not be that different from our past. At times it seems we haven’t come that far at all. Nonetheless, we’ve prevailed. And as these documents show, our grand experiment has helped forge a more perfect union that’s lasted for more than 200 years. If you are a history buff like me, you will definitely want to plan your trip.

The U.S. Constitution and Draft Bill of Rights Exhibit
Minnesota History Center
651-259-3000, minnesotahistorycenter.org

Exhibit is open during History Center Hours: Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

Admission: $11 for adults; $9 for seniors and college students; $6 for children ages 6 to 17; free for children age 5 and under, and for members. Free for all ages on Tuesday evenings from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Whether you are a seasoned Twin Cities traveler or planning your first trip to Minnesota, this blog will introduce you to many new adventures to add to your itinerary. From day trips and scenic discoveries to luxurious girls weekends, travel tips, and insider scoops, our editors will give you all the information you need to enjoy your stay Up North.

Learn about the contributing writers.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Travel Blog

Memorial Day Activities in the Twin Cities

From historical reenactments to a hip-hop music festival, there's something for everyone this Memorial Day weekend in the Twin Cities.

A Day Trip to Red Wing

Located right on the Mississippi River, Red Wing offers a historic downtown district and spectacular views

It's Farmers Market Season

No matter where you live in Minnesota, fresh produce, flowers and homemade goodies await

Origami in the Garden

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum's latest exhibit puts the art of folding paper on full display with a garden and metal twist

New Ways to Explore 3 Classic MN Destinations

From Fort Snelling to the North Shore, check out this summer's technological updates to historic and wild Minnesota places

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: May

This month, Sue Z. recommends supporting local student chefs with a dinner at Saint Dinette

What to Wear + Where to Go: Music Festivals

Your style guide for Minnesota music festivals

Mesabi Trail Offers New Views in Northern Minnesota

The Mesabi Trail, a 120-mile paved cycling and hiking trail that spans the Mesabi Iron Range, recently opened a new connection in Virginia, MN that crosses the state's tallest bridge and offers amazing views of former minelands.

Glensheen Mansion Bonfire Nights

Enjoy this summer tradition from one of the most iconic estates in the state

Twin Cities Festival Spring Babies

If April showers bring May flowers, spring babies bring fun for the whole family

Record Store Day: Where to Find Rare Releases in MN

On April 21, rock out at mini-music festivals around the state, dig into gourmet donuts, and collect the rare vinyls available one time a year

Catch the Lyrids Meteor Shower

The meteor shower peaks April 21 and 22, just in time for Earth Day

A Day Trip to Excelsior

Just 20 miles west of the Twin Cities, this waterfront town is complete with charming shops and lakeside dining

Night Art Gallery Is Your Sober Night Out

The Lindstrom art gallery entertains with hors d'oeuvres, tons of art available for purchase, and non-alcholic drinks
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags