July 27, 2022

IMLS 250: Discussing the Declaration of Independence
Conversation with Dr. Wilfred McClay During IMLS Initiative Commemorating the U.S. Semiquincentennial

Dr. Wilfred McClay and Crosby Kemper
IMLS Director Crosby Kemper and Dr. Wilfred McClay discuss the Declaration of Independence during an event May 25 at President Lincoln's Cottage in Washington, D.C.

Washington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Services hosted a conversation with Dr. Wilfred McClay about the Declaration of Independence at President Lincoln’s Cottage in Washington, D.C. on June 21. The conversation is part of “IMLS 250: All Stories. All People. All Places,” to engage the nation’s libraries, museums, and archives as they commemorate the 250th anniversary of America’s founding.

Wilfred McClay Ph.D. is the Victor Davis Hanson Chair of Classical History and Western Civilization, and Professor of History, at Hillsdale College. He served from 2002 to 2013 on the National Council on the Humanities, the advisory board for the National Endowment for the Humanities, and is currently serving on the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission, which is planning for the 250th anniversary of the United States, to be observed in 2026.

The conversation with Dr. McClay is the second in a series of events with historians, biographers, critics, commentators, and civic leaders, including a previous conversation with Dr. Edna Medford.

This initiative is committed to honoring the value of all stories about our nation’s development over the past 250 years, focusing on local histories and how their actions shaped the country, while respecting regional and cultural differences and ensuring multiple voices are represented.

Major themes for interconnected programs throughout 2022 include:

  • Civic Engagement and Community Conversations as tools for exploring unresolved historic issues—understanding each other better results in community building, civic engagement, and healing;

  • Monuments, Memorials, and Symbolic Commemorations as methods for engaging in community dialogue about who, what, and why particular people, events, or histories should be remembered, as well as looking forward to future monuments; and

  • Voting Rights and Naturalization as natural extensions of civic and community engagement.

We hope to elucidate the shared history and shared ideals of American history and culture with these fine minds in preparation for telling the inclusive, diverse, frequently unknown or forgotten stories of all communities in our country as they relate to the larger national story and our ongoing attempts to be worthy of our founding ideals of the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness equally shared by all,” said Kemper.

IMLS is a partner of the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America's museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. IMLS envisions a nation where individuals and communities have access to museums and libraries to learn from and be inspired by the trusted information, ideas, and stories they contain about our diverse natural and cultural heritage. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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