Declaring Independence: The Origin and Influence of America’s Founding Document

When Albert H. Small donated his impressive collection of Declaration of Independence related documents to the University of Virginia in 2005, the University built the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library to house them. To commemorate this event, the Library commissioned GDA to design a book to highlight elements from the collection. This book features essays from prominent scholars on the historical impact of the Declaration, as well as lush reproductions of many of the historical documents themselves.

The Library provided GDA with high resolutions scans of the documents, and we painstakingly silhouetted them to emphasize their nature as real, historical artifacts. The end result is a vibrant book that allows readers to feel as though they are very nearly holding the actual documents themselves.

In addition to the essays and document collection, GDA prepared a beautiful Signer’s Gallery with portraits and biographical sketches of all fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence.

A few years after the publication of the book, the Library returned to GDA to ask if we could adapt the materials from Declaring Independence into a large format touchscreen exhibit to be a part of the museum exhibit. We were happy to explore such an interesting challenge.