Norwich University Hosts Program on First Amendment, National Exhibit on the Bill of Rights


Feb. 10, 2017

Norwich University’s Sullivan Museum and History Center will host a lunch and learn program on the First Amendment in conjunction with a national, pop-up exhibit commemorating the 225th anniversary of the Bill of Rights.

On Wednesday, Feb. 22, at noon, The Sullivan Museum and History Center presents, “A Living Document: The First Amendment, Past, Present and Future,” a talk by Austin Gray, attorney and longtime professor of civil liberties and Constitutional law. The event includes a light lunch and is free and open to the public.

Gray, of law firm Gray Law PLLC in Barre, Vt., has been teaching at the university level for 20 years and is one of the founding faculty of the Master of Law program at Champlain College. He also teaches Civil Liberties and Constitutional Law at Norwich University. A graduate of Temple University School of Law, Gray is a member of the Vermont, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar Associations.

This presentation is held in conjunction with a new “pop-up” exhibition from the National Archives, “The Bill of Rights and You,commemorating the 225th anniversary of the ratification of this landmark document. This exhibit spotlights one of the most remarkable periods in American history, explores the origins of the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution (collectively known as the Bill of Rights), illustrates how each amendment protects U.S. citizens, and looks at how Americans exercise the rights outlined in the amendments. “The Bill of Rights and You” invites visitors to connect directly with the people, places, and events that mark this historic document’s evolution. The exhibit will be on display in the Museum’s Rotunda through March 15, 2017.

“The Bill of Rights and You” co-curator Jennifer Johnson states: “The Bill of Rights represents the Founder’s vision that it would be the people, through votes, that could change the Constitution with enough consensus. And when the people desired a Bill of Rights, our first 10 amendments were added to our governing charter.”

Visitors are also encouraged to engage in a dialogue by answering the question: “What Does Freedom Mean to You?”  A message board in the Museum Rotunda is available to post your own personal answer.

“The Bill of Rights and You” is organized by the National Archives and Records Administration, and traveled by the National Archives Traveling Exhibits Service (NATES). This exhibition was developed in collaboration with the National Archives’ National Outreach Initiative to commemorate the 225th Anniversary of the Bill of Rights. The exhibition is presented in part by AT&T, Seedlings Foundation, and the National Archives Foundation.

This exhibit is brought to you in collaboration with the Vermont Humanities Council and the Federation of State Humanities Councils. A statewide nonprofit organization founded in 1974, the Vermont Humanities Council strives to make Vermont a state in which every individual reads, participates in public affairs, and continues to learn throughout life.

Norwich University’s Sullivan Museum and History Center is the only museum in Vermont to be named a Smithsonian Affiliate. Currently, there are two exhibitions focusing on the year leading up the 100th Anniversary of World War One and the 75th Anniversary of World War Two. These exhibits are on display through May 2017 and include various items from the university collection as well as borrowed materials. Some of the artifacts on exhibit include: trench art, World War One and Two posters, patriotic jewelry, artwork, uniforms, medals, objects from the field, weapons and other items from our collection.

The museum is open to the public from 8 until 4 Monday through Friday, but is closed on holidays.  Admission is free. For more information about the programs or exhibit, please call 802-485-2183 or visit

About Norwich University

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) 

In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. Norwich University will celebrate its bicentennial in 2019. Learn more about the campaign and how to participate in the “Year of Transformation” here:    

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