Freedom ShrineDeveloped by the National Exchange Club, the Freedom Shrine originated from the Freedom Train that toured the nation in 1947 carrying an exhibit of historic documents. Its purpose is to put before young Americans the proof that the freedom and greatness we enjoy today was not purchased easily and reminds them that these gifts must be cherished and protected. Painstakingly researched to guarantee absolute authenticity, the 28 historical American documents that comprise the Shrine were carefully chosen to exemplify the beginnings of our nation and those subsequent turning points of importance which shaped our national character and eminence. The documents of the Shrine represent foundation stones which permit the present, as we know it, to exist and the future, as we dream it, to be attainable. Thousands of Shrines have been dedicated throughout the United States and Puerto Rico in universities, libraries, schools, state capitals, city halls and at American outposts scattered throughout the world.

The Shrine is a display of historical documents photographically reproduced from the originals and permanently laminated to individual non-warping plaques. It is used by teachers, students, study groups and other clubs to further study American history. Exchange prints a study tool called the Freedom Shrine Documents Textbook which contains the texts of the documents of the Shrine. It can be used to inspire essay and speech contests, and to prepare for the Milestones of Freedom quiz.

For more information on Freedom Shrines, request a free kit from your Exchange Club of Aurora.

Visit the virtual Freedom Shrine hosted by the Exchange Club of Salem, N.H.

The Documents included in this shrine are:

1620 The Mayflower Compact
1776 The Declaration of Independence – Jefferson’s Rough Draft
1776 The Declaration of Independence
1776 Benjamin Franklin’s Epitaph
1778 Patrick Henry’s Instructions to George Rogers Clark
1782 Washington’s Letter to Colonel Nicola
1783 The Treaty of Paris
1787 The Northwest Ordinance
1787 Washington’s Copy of the Constitution
1787 U. S. Constitution
1789 Washington’s First Inaugural
1789 The Bill of Rights
1796 Washington’s Farewell
1801 Jefferson’s First Inaugural
1814 The Star Spangled Banner
1815 Jackson’s Letter Describing the Battle of New Orleans
1823 The Monroe Doctrine
1863 The Emancipation Proclamation
1863 The Gettysburg Address
1865 Lincoln’s Second Inaugural
1865 Lee’s Letter Accepting Washington College Presidency
1865 The Thirteenth Amendment
1874 Account of the Proceedings of the Susan B. Anthony Trial
1907 Theodore Roosevelt’s Letter on Cuba
1913 Wilson’s First Inaugural
1920 The Nineteenth Amendment
1941 F.D.R.’s Four Freedoms Speech
1943 Letter Naming Eisenhower Supreme Commander
1944 General McAuliffe’s “Christmas Message”
1945 German Instrument of Surrender, World War II
1945 Instrument of Surrender in the Pacific
1961 J.F.K.’s “Ask Not ...” Speech
1963 Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” Speech