MLaw to Mark Magna Carta's 800th Year with Commemorative Exhibit

 By Jenny Whalen

U-M Law
The 800th anniversary of Magna Carta—and its impact on the rule of law throughout the centuries—will be featured at the University of Michigan Law School this fall when the Law Library hosts a commemorative traveling exhibit.
Magna Carta: Enduring Legacy 1215-2015? will be on display Oct. 1-23, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., in the Michigan Law Library, sub-1. Featuring images of Magna Carta and related documents and artifacts from the Library of Congress’s rare book collections, 16 banners tell the history and impact of the historic document from its sealing by King John in 1215 up to the present day. The exhibit also incorporates a video, produced by the Library of Congress, showing the Law Librarian and the exhibit curator handling selected materials depicted in the exhibit and explaining their significance.
“Magna Carta is a vital document not only to the annals of history, but to the development of the American legal system,” said Robert Hirshon, Michigan Law’s Frank G. Millard Professor from Practice and Special Counsel on Developments in the Legal Profession. “It is a great honor to be one of the first institutions to host this exhibit in the United States.”
The exhibit’s stay at Michigan Law will culminate with a special lecture by Robert Bartlett on Oct. 22. The Wardlaw Professor of Mediaeval History at the University of St. Andrews, Bartlett specializes in English history between the 11th and 14th centuries and is one of the most prominent medieval historians in the world. The talk, which will take place at 4 p.m. in South Hall room 1225, will be followed with a reception in Aikens Commons.
The exhibit was developed both to raise awareness about Magna Carta’s enduring influence and to complement an upcoming Library of Congress exhibition, “Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor,” (Nov. 6, 2014 through Jan. 19, 2015), that will display the Lincoln Cathedral’s 1215 manuscript of Magna Carta.
The principles found in Magna Carta played a fundamental role in establishing the supremacy of the law in our constitutional, democratic society, including concepts embraced by the Founding Fathers in the Bill of Rights. The importance of Magna Carta to American laws and freedoms was highlighted at the ABA Annual Meeting as Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts Jr. spoke of its significance. “When we talk about Magna Carta today, we’re not celebrating antiquated relics of a time long past,” he said. “Instead we are referring to a small collection of provisions that express kernels of transcendent significance.”
The exhibit will travel in the next year and a half to public buildings such as courthouses, law schools, universities, state houses and public libraries around the United States. The exhibit will be displayed in London, England from June 11-14, 2015, in conjunction with the ABA’s London sessions and rededication of the ABA’s Magna Carta memorial at Runnymede.
Magna Carta: Enduring Legacy 1215-2015 was developed through a partnership of the American Bar Association, ABA Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress, Library of Congress, and Law Library of Congress. Its visit to Michigan Law is being underwritten through the generosity of The Wein-Hirshon Charitable Foundation.