07/05/2024

How Do They Actually Store The Declaration Of Independence?

17:41 minutes

A yellowed document projected above a group of three people on a stage
Ira on stage with guests from the National Archives: Conservator Saira Haqqi and physicist Mark Ormsby. Lisner Auditorium, Science Friday

These days, the 4th of July is known for its fireworks and cookouts. But the holiday commemorates the ratification of the Declaration of Independence, one of the most important founding documents of the United States.

The Declaration of Independence, alongside the Emancipation Proclamation, the Constitution, and countless other documents, is housed in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Like any other museum, the National Archives doesn’t just house these items, it preserves them, protecting them from the degradation that happens over time. 

In March, at SciFri Live in Washington, D.C., Ira spoke to two restoration experts about what goes on behind the scenes of the National Archives: Conservator Saira Haqqi and physicist Mark Ormsby. They discuss the history of papermaking in the US, changes in restoration science, and what “National Treasure” really got right.


Further Reading

Segment Guests

Saira Haqqi

Saira Haqqi is a conservator with the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

Mark Ormsby

Mark Ormsby is a physicist at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

Segment Transcript

The transcript of this segment is being processed. It will be available within one week after the show airs.

Meet the Producers and Host

About Kathleen Davis

Kathleen Davis is a producer at Science Friday, which means she spends the week brainstorming, researching, and writing, typically in that order. She’s a big fan of stories related to strange animal facts and dystopian technology.

About Ira Flatow

Ira Flatow is the host and executive producer of Science FridayHis green thumb has revived many an office plant at death’s door.

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