Tourists will be banned from taking photographs or video at the National Archives' main exhibit hall in Washington to protect the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The flashes of light and ultraviolet radiation can damage the documents and cause the ink to fade, said archive officials.

The rule, posted in the Federal Register on Jan. 25, will take effect Feb. 24.

About a million visitors pass through the exhibit each year. Despite an existing ban on flash photography, visitors still shoot about 50,000 flashes of light at the historic documents each year, officials said.

The ban on photography is expected to improve the flow of visitor traffic.

The National Archives gift shop will continue to sell copies of historic documents.

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