New Lincoln museum exhibit has Gettysburg Address
“Undying Words: Lincoln 1858-1865,” which opened recently at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, includes the bed where Lincoln died, the Gettysburg Address and the bloodstained gloves he was carrying when assassinated.
The exhibit runs through February 2016 and includes artifacts compiled by the Springfield museum and the Chicago History Museum.
The heart of the exhibit is five Lincoln speeches: 1858’s “House Divided,” 1861’s first inaugural address, the 1863 Gettysburg Address, his 1865 second inaugural address and a final speech about the Reconstruction given three days before his death.
“All of his work very clearly is trying to bring people together, to get and keep one country,” Leonard Heumann, a retired University of Illinois professor who visited the exhibit on its opening day, told The (Springfield) State Journal-Register.
Visitors can also see the ink well Lincoln used to write his first inaugural address and a note he sent to Civil War Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, as well as a carriage that Lincoln used in Washington.
The exhibit also looks at the people most affected by Lincoln’s writings: soldiers and slaves. It includes shoes and shackles worn by slaves and a whip. It also has rifles and uniforms from Civil War battlefields.
Chicago History Museum curator Olivia Mahoney said looking at the speeches helps explain Lincoln’s changing views on slavery.
“By studying these speeches, you do see how Lincoln had really grown in his understanding. You see this dramatic change in his views toward slavery,” Mahoney said. “It’s a very compelling story.”
The exhibit also includes a 5-foot-tall Lincoln campaign banner, condolence letters to first lady Mary Todd Lincoln and the model for the sculpture in the Lincoln Memorial.
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