by Ryan McLaughlin
BANGOR — Travelers coming into and out of Bangor International Airport now have the opportunity to view a piece of American history.
Thanks to a partnership with the Bangor Museum and History Center, a rare copy of the Declaration of Independence will be on display at BIA over the next several months, according to Jennifer Pictou, executive director of the history center.
PIctou said the copy of the document was created by William Stone and printed in 1823. It was donated to the museum by Jeanette Rogers of North Newburgh in 1914.
The copy was unveiled Friday, April 5, at BIA. It is displayed in a special case on the airport’s second floor, directly behind the escalators.
“We’ve been working in greater partnership with BIA to bring a piece of history to the public and they are a great venue for that,” said Pictou, noting that more than 500,000 passengers and between 250,000 and 500,000 U.S. troops pass through the airport per year.
Airport Director Tony Caruso also is pleased to have the document in the airport.
“Our partnership with the museum gives us the opportunity to provide a venue for the public to see this copy of the Declaration of Independence,” said Caruso.
There were 201 William Stone copies of the Declaration printed and only 50 are known to remain, Pictou said.
The document is framed and mounted behind ultraviolet glass at the airport, Pictou said, and is in excellent condition.
“It’s best preserved as that document can get,” Pictou said.
Because the market for such documents fluctuates, Pictou said she could not put a precise value on the copy but said it is in the tens of thousands of dollars. It is protected at BIA by surveillance cameras and other security devices in addition to the special case, she said.
Pictou is hopeful the display can remain at the airport throughout the summer, but it will be taken down if there are any indications that the document fades.
“We will be monitoring it very closely,” she said, noting factors such as sunlight and humidity could cause the document to fade.