Princess Cruises showcased a rare copy of America’s founding document aboard Coral Princess. Pictured with the historic document from left to right: Coral Princess Capt. Justin Lawes; Win Gruening, senior vice president of Key Bank and grandson of former Sen. Ernest Gruening; Sen. Dennis Egan, state senator and past mayor of Juneau whose father was the first governor of the state; and Bruce Bustamante, vice president of community and government affairs, Princess Cruises and Tours.
A rare, original copy of the United States of America’s founding document made an exclusive appearance aboard Princess Cruises’ Alaska-based ships the July 4th week, giving passengers the unique opportunity to see the only traveling copy of the Declaration of Independence – just as the country celebrated Independence Day.
Hosted in partnership with Declare Yourself, a non-profit organization founded by legendary television producer Norman Lear, this unique opportunity marks the first time a copy of the Declaration has visited Alaska, and the first time a cruise line has shown the famous document.
The Declaration was on display aboard the vessels for about two hours while each ship was docked in Juneau.
“This is an amazing opportunity for our passengers to get a first-hand look at history, which is especially poignant at a time of year when our country celebrates its independence,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “It’s a rare occasion when we can bring such a unique attraction right on board – this document has never been shown on a cruise ship before. It was a memorable way to mark the week of Independence Day as well as Alaska’s 50th anniversary of statehood.”
The only touring copy of the Declaration of Independence, Declare Yourself’s historic document is one of an estimated 200 original broadside copies (about the size of a sheet of newspaper) printed by John Dunlap in Philadelphia in 1776 after it was drafted by Thomas Jefferson, to distribute across the colonies and to King George in England. This copy’s current journey began in 1989 when a Pennsylvania shopper bought a frame at a flea market for $4. Later, while inspecting a tear in the back of the painting, he discovered a piece of paper wedged between the frame and painting. He pulled it out and uncovered what would soon be authenticated as the 25th remaining copy of the Declaration of Independence. The document changed hands several times and was purchased in 2000 by Lyn and Norman Lear for $8.14 million, with the goal of bringing the document directly to the American people.
Declare Yourself is a national nonpartisan, nonprofit campaign that was founded in 2003 to empower and encourage every eligible 18-year-old in America to register to vote. For more information about Declare Yourself, visit www.DeclareYourself.com.