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Special exhibit at Historic Fort Steuben celebrates Constitution

STEUBENVILLE — The Historic Fort Steuben Visitor Center is celebrating a seminal moment in American history with a special exhibit commemorating the signing of the U.S. Constitution 233 years ago.

Now through Sept. 19, visitors can learn about their government — things like what’s in the Constitution, how government works, the Bill of Rights, even important definitions.

“Every year we do an exhibit on the Constitution, to commemorate Constitution Day, which is Sept. 17,” Executive Director Paul Zuros said. “It’s just an annual event where we celebrate the history of the Constitution. Students can even come down and ‘sign’ the Constitution. We have a quill pen and some brown paper for them to sign, like they did in the old days. We’re also giving out pocket copies of the Constitution to commemorate the event.”

There’s even have a trivia quiz for the not-so-faint of heart.

“It’s a small exhibit, but we do get people coming in to check it out,” he said, adding in the past some have assumed that the Constitution had been signed when the soldiers were stationed at the Fort.

“The soldiers who were here at the fort in the old days would not have known about the Constitution,” he said. “It did not exist when the soldiers were here. They were still under the Articles of Confederation.”

Zuros said the soldiers garrisoned at the fort moved out in May 1787. The Constitution wasn’t ratified until Sept. 17 of that year.

“So they were under the Articles of Confederation, which was the system of government in place then but it really wasn’t working well, so they wrote the Constitution to replace it.”

The Visitor Center is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

“It’s for all ages,” he added. “The exhibit is free, but donations are always welcome.”

And with the 2020 presidential election just around the corner, Zuros said there’s never been a better time to study the Constitution.

“To be a good citizen, one should know how our government works,” he said. “To study the Constitution, as our founding document, really sets the groundwork for being a good citizen. This is pretty important stuff. Being an election year, people need to know our system of government more than ever.”

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