Lincoln's Draft Emancipation Proclamation (With Photo Gallery)

By Haley Burton

November 1, 2012 Updated Nov 1, 2012 at 6:42 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A critical piece of history makes a stop in Binghamton.

Abraham Lincoln's preliminary Emancipation Proclamation is on display at the Roberson Museum.

It's a part of the exhibition, "The First Step to Freedom: Abraham Lincoln’s Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation". It is making an eight-city tour across New York. It is organized by The New York State Museum, a division of the New York State Education Department.

The exhibit has a display of the only surviving version of the document in Lincoln’s handwriting.

Many who visited on Thursday commented they were impressed with the condition of the document.

"I've always been interested in the Civil War. When I heard this was coming, I just had to come and see it," said Irene Yalch, Town of Colesville, "Isn't it wonderful we can preserve our history? I think more of our history should be preserved."

Scott Payne of Deposit is a living historian who says he loves artifacts and documents from the Civil War era.

"It's very sombering and sober to see the actual signature of President Lincoln. The actual thumbprints possibly he made in the ink when he was writing it. Corrections he made in pencil where he had written words he thought about later on afterwards," said Scott Payne, Deposit.

Jordan Murray of Binghamton dressed up as Abraham Lincoln to visit the exhibit. It was his Halloween costume.

"I didn't want to waste the opportunity to not see something so important and big in our history," said Murry, "It's awesome it came to Binghamton. When I heard the tour was going around, I didn't think it would stop here."

"The First Step to Freedom" also includes the script of a speech written and delivered in New York City in September 1962 by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for the Proclamation’s centennial.

The exhibition will be open noon until 8 p.m. on November 1 and noon until 5 p.m. on November 2. Admission is free.