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Original Copy of the Declaration of Independence in Abilene

An original copy of the Declaration of Independence went on display Tuesday at an Abilene museum as part of a national tour organized by television producer Norman Lear.

It will be on display Wednesday at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum as well, and then move on to other sites.

Lear’s copy is one of 200 printed on July 4, 1776, and distributed to the 13 colonies declaring their independence from Britain. Only about 25 copies still exist, and Lear’s is one of the few considered in pristine condition, The Salina Journal reported. It is officially owned by the Lear Family Foundation.

Lear, 88, said he organized the national multimedia tour to encourage Americans, particularly young people, to vote and become politically active.

Lear unveiled the document at the museum Monday and it was formally delivered by horseback rider Tuesday morning. It will be displayed from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. The museum will has exhibits on the Revolutionary War, voter registration, historical re-enactors and an oversized replica of the Declaration for visitors to sign.

Lear’s copy was discovered in 1989 by a Philadelphia man under a picture he bought for $4 at a flea market. Lear bought it in an online auction.

About Jeff Ottens