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Home National & State Parks Other NPs Original Homestead Act To Be Displayed at Homestead NM in Nebraska

Original Homestead Act To Be Displayed at Homestead NM in Nebraska

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Four pages of American history which changed the shape of the nation will be on display at Homestead National Monument in America located in Beatrice, Neb. from April 25 through May 28, 2012.

Those four pages made up the Homestead Act of 1862, which is considered one of the 100 most important documents in the National Archives. When not on display the document is housed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

homesteadact_pg1The original document will be displayed at Homestead National Monument to help commemorate in honor of the act's 150th anniversary in 2012.

"During the 150th Anniversary of the Homestead Act we thought it was important to share the document which is at the heart of the story we share with every visitor to Homestead National Monument of America," said monument Superintendent Mark Engler. "We believe that this will be a once in a life time opportunity for many Americans to see this historic document."

Four million people filed for free land under the Homestead Act of 1862. America gave away 270 million acres (nearly 10 percent of its land mass) from Jan. 1, 1863 through 1976 in the lower 48 states and 1986 in Alaska.

Today it is estimated that as many as 93 million Americans are descendants of homesteaders.

Jason Jurgena, Curator at Homestead, has been preparing for the document's arrival since early in 2011. "It is a rare opportunity to see a document that had such an important impact on this country," said Jurgena.

The historic document, signed by President Lincoln, will be on view at the Heritage Center. Like all other park programs and activities, viewing this one of a kind document will be free of charge. Groups of 15 or more are encouraged to make reservations.

"The National Archives is pleased to cooperate with the Homestead National Monument through its long-standing loan program. This program enables thousands who might not otherwise have the chance to see such an example of our national experience," said Jim Zeender, the Senior Registrar at the National Archives.

The Homestead Act was selected as one of 100 milestone documents as part of the Our Documents project because of its influence on the course of U.S. history, according to the National Archives.

"These documents helped shape the national character, and they reflect our diversity, our unity, and our commitment as a nation to continue our work toward forming 'a more perfect union'," said Lee Ann Potter of the Education Division of the National Archives.

Homestead National Monument of America will be marking the anniversary with a variety of events in 2012.

Homestead National Monument of America is a unit of the National Park Service located four miles west of Beatrice, Nebraska. Current hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends. Admission is free of charge. For additional information, call (402) 223-3514 or visit
www.nps.gov/home .

 
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