Visitors to Washington D.C’s Newseum were greeted with a four-story-high marble tablet engraved with the words of the First Amendment. When the Newseum closed in 2019, the institution sold its building to John Hopkins University. The First Amendment tablet, however, will now have a new home at Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center.
Freedom Forum, the non-profit organization that funded the Newseum, donated the table to the National Constitution Center. Freedom Forum retained ownership of the tablet after the building was sold with the goal of finding a new space to display it in public. Once the tablet is transported to Philadelphia, it will be displayed along a 100-foot-wide wall on the National Constitution Center’s Grand Hall Overlook, the second-floor atrium overlooking Independence Mall.
National Constitution Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen described the meaning of placing the tablet at this location. “We are thrilled to bring this heroic marble tablet of the First Amendment to the National Constitution Center, to inspire visitors from across America and around the world for generations to come. It’s so meaningful to bring the text of the First Amendment to Philadelphia, in a majestic space overlooking Independence Hall, where the original Constitution was drafted, as a permanent monument to the five freedoms of speech, press, religion, assembly, and petition,” Rosen said.
The fifty-ton tablet is made up of smaller pieces, which workers will be disassembling over the coming weeks. The pieces will be installed in Philadelphia later this year, and a dedication ceremony will be held in the fall, ahead of a season of programming dedicated to the First Amendment.