College Celebrates 4th of July with Declaration of Independence

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As with any big event, like graduation, we want to celebrate! So, for the 4th of July, many of us will remember the holiday with traditional cookouts and fireworks. One college in particular, Williams College, will be observing July 4th in another way – bringing to life the heartfelt politics of 1776 when a document was written calling for independence from British rule.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;”
Line from the
Declaration of Independence

An online listing of 4th of July events in Massachusetts included a program that caught my eye. It said, following a street parade and a barbecue, Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) is holding an annual reading of the Declaration of Independence and the British reply.

“Gather on the WCMA patio as Williamstown Theatre Festival actors read aloud the Declaration of Independence and the British reply.

“If their Treason be suffered to take Root, much Mischief must grow from it, to the Safety of My loyal Colonies, to the Commerce of My Kingdoms, and indeed to the present System of all Europe.
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Line from King George III’s reply

Visit the galleries from 1-4 pm for an up-close look at the documents themselves,” according to Williams College’s Public Events calendar page.

Williamstown Theatre Festival actors Robert Sean Leonard (Dead Poets Society), Paxton Whitehead (The Importance of Being Earnest), and Heather Lind (HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire”) are participating in the July 4th reading of the Founding Documents.

Williams College’s collection of documents relating to the founding of the United States of America is amazing. According to information about the museum, its collection includes extremely rare copies of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States as well as copies of the Articles of Confederation, the Bill of Rights, and the Federalist essays.

The Williams College Museum of Art is an active collecting museum, which doesn’t just teach about art, but teaches with art across many fields of study, according to its site. The galleries, exhibitions, and programs are free and open to the public. The reading of the Founding Documents on the 4th of July is certainly a way that the museum creatively makes a memorable connection with the past through performing art.

In the case of graduation, the commencement ceremony, a party, and framing a diploma is all part of the celebration. In the case of the 4th of July, it’s the Declaration of Independence that’s the core of it all!

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