david m. rubenstein


The Emancipation Proclamation will be on display for just three days this month: February 15, 16, and 17.

Due to its fragile condition, it can only be displayed for a limited time each year. The document will be on display in the new David M. Rubenstein Gallery in the National Archives Building in Washington, DC.

You can read the transcription, or download “The Meaning and Making of Emancipation,” a free eBook created by the National Archives for your iPad, iPhone, Nook, or other electronic device.


Bei Bei by Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Via Flickr:
Caption: Bei Bei inside the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat in April 2016. Photo: Skip Brown/Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

The four surviving original copies of the 1215 Magna Carta have been brought together for the first time in London. Can’t get to London?

You can still see Magna Carta at the National Archives in Washington, DC.

On June 15, 1215, in a field at Runnymede, King John affixed his seal to Magna Carta. Confronted by 40 rebellious barons, he had consented to their demands in order to avert civil war.

The interests of the common man were hardly apparent in the minds of the men who brokered the agreement. But there are two principles expressed in Magna Carta that resonate to this day:

“No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will We proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.”

Although Magna Carta failed to resolve the conflict between King John and his barons, it was reissued several times after his death.
The document on display at the entrance of the David M. Rubenstein Gallery at the National Archives is one of four surviving originals of the 1297 Magna Carta.

During the American Revolution, Magna Carta served to inspire and justify action in liberty’s defense. The colonists believed they were entitled to the same rights as Englishmen, rights guaranteed in Magna Carta. They embedded those rights into the laws of their states and later into the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution (“no person shall … be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”) is a direct descendent of Magna Carta’s guarantee of proceedings according to the “law of the land.”

Magna Carta courtesy of David M. Rubenstein.


Bei Bei at Smithsonian National Zoo by MyAngel 27
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Photo by National Zoo: Bei Bei Becomes More Independent This panda update was written by keeper Marty Dearie. As of December 7, Bei Bei weighed about 16 pounds (7.32 kg). Even though he’s grown exponentially over the last few months, he still won’t be eating bamboo for a while. However, he has started to mouth it, which is typical of a cub his age. Bei Bei’s teeth are continuing to come in, but we’re not sure if he experiences teething the way human babies do. When we hand-raised our sloth bear cub Remi, we noticed that she experienced discomfort when her teeth were coming in. Since keepers do not have constant, direct contact with Bei Bei, it is hard to definitively tell if he is experiencing something similar. During the day when keepers are present, we’ve noticed that Mei Xiang spends most of the day separate from Bei Bei. This is natural and a good indication of his increasing independence. Keepers will begin training Bei Bei soon with simple behaviors that will aid in basic husbandry, specifically name recognition and touching a target. The David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat has been closed to the public since Aug. 20 to provide quiet, and will remain closed until Bei Bei’s public debut on January 16. Prior to the debut, you can see Bei Bei on the panda cam, sponsored by the Ford Motor Company Fund. Don’t forget to follow @smithsonianzoo on Instagram for more photos and videos with the hashtag #PandaStory!