Abraham Lincoln is coming to the Bell County Museum on Saturday, December 29th. Abraham Lincoln: Self-Made in America opens December 29 and will remain on view through March 9, 2013. The exhibit is organized by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois; it is traveling across the country and the Bell County Museum is its last stop before heading back to Illinois. It was created to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Lincoln, “America’s greatest president,” said Illinois State Historian Thomas Schwartz.
The exhibit covers Lincoln’s childhood, his self-education, his careers as a surveyor and lawyer, family life, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, the 1860 presidential election, the Civil War, the 13th Amendment, the Emancipation Proclamation, his assassination, and other important periods and events in his life. The reproduction artifacts on exhibit, all modeled from originals in the Museum, include: Lincoln’s favorite books; his son Tad’s toy cannon; the nameplate from his Springfield home; his stovepipe hat, which he used like a briefcase to hold important papers; an axe that Lincoln used to chop word; the bloody gloves found in Lincoln’s pocket the night of his assassination; and much more. Abraham Lincoln, the son of a subsistence farmer, came of age during a dramatic transformation in America’s economic life. Like many of his contemporaries, he embraced a new emphasis on personal initiative, risk-taking, and ambition. He was only 22 when he left his family home to find his own way. After enduring a series of personal failures in business, he became a prosperous attorney, devoted husband and father, successful politician, and finally, the 16th President of the United States. While Lincoln benefited from close association with a number of powerful friends, his own talents and ambitions combined with hard work and a dedication to self-improvement to produce a uniquely American specimen – the self-made man.
The exhibit will also feature artifacts from collections around the country and from the museum collection, and includes numerous interactive areas and activities. A computer interactive features audio clips of Lincoln’s important speeches narrated by Dr. Paxton Howard; “Abraham Lincoln’s Crossroads” from the National Constitution Center; and “President Lincoln’s White House: An Emancipation Day Visit” by the White House Historical Association.
On Saturday, January 12, 2013, a public reception will feature Talmage Boston presenting “The Abraham Lincoln You Don’t Know,” and a presentation by Mark Updegrove, director of the LBJ Library and Museum in Austin. Boston, a gifted speaker, has practiced law since 1978. He was recognized in Texas Monthly as a Texas Super Lawyer every year from 203-2012, has also been recognized among the “Best Lawyers in America.” He is also the author of many books on law and baseball. Updegrove became director of the LBJ Library in October 2009. He has authored three books relating to the American Presidency, and has written articles for American Heritage, The Nation, National Geographic, Parade, Texas Monthly, and TIME. The program starts at 2:00 p.m., and refreshments will be served.
On Saturday, February 9, the museum will host “Lincoln’s Birthday Bash,” designed for children of all ages. The afternoon will featured many fun activities related to Lincoln and the American Presidency, and includes, of course, a giant birthday cake.
For more information on any of these events, please call the museum at 254.933.5243.