The Declaration of Independence parchment. The Declaration was drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776, and adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.
The original parchment was handwritten by scribe, Timothy Matlack, on animal skin treated with lime and stretched to create a strong, long-lasting writing support. Over the years it has faded badly – like other parchment documents of the time, the Declaration was probably stored in a rolled format. Each time the document was used, it was unrolled and re-rolled. This action took its toll through abrasion and flexing. Today, the document is maintained under the most exacting archival conditions possible. It is on exhibit with the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights, at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. For more on the Charters of Freedom visit: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_history.html