Tuesday, January 26, 2010
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Taper Collection items of famous Lincoln memorabilia at presidential museum Feb. 10-15

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[January 26, 2010]  SPRINGFIELD -- Several one-of-a-kind original artifacts will be displayed for a limited time in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield during the days surrounding Lincoln's 201st birthday, including a special after-hours viewing vigil that will offer the Emancipation Proclamation and the inkwell Lincoln used to write his First Inaugural Address.

A temporary artifact display in the plaza area of the museum Feb. 10-15 will feature a desk and bookcase made by Thomas Lincoln, Abraham's father; a five-volume set, "Life of George Washington," owned by Mary Lincoln; and a heavy bronzed-plaster sculpture, "The Council of War," that was owned by Robert Lincoln and depicts Lincoln, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton and Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. The original clock from the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices will also be displayed. Visitors can see where Lincoln-era mice chewed a hole in the back of the clock and can listen to the ticking. This will be the first public display in recent history when the clock will be wound up and keep time. Museum admission is required to view the display.


These items came from the world's most significant collection of Lincoln artifacts ever compiled by a private collector -- The Taper Collection. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation received a $2 million in-kind gift of select items from the Barry and Louise Taper Family Foundation and purchased an additional 1,500 Taper Collection artifacts and documents. The foundation's $27 million "Permanent Home" campaign was launched in 2009 to retire the debt related to this purchase. The success of the campaign will ensure that the Taper Collection will remain with the museum permanently.

Several other artifacts will be added for a special one-night viewing vigil from 5:30 to 10 on Feb. 11, the night before Lincoln's 201st birthday: a rare copy of the Emancipation Proclamation bearing Lincoln's original signature; the inkwell used by Lincoln when he wrote his First Inaugural Address and a printer's galley proof of the address; an ornate walking stick owned by Lincoln and earlier involved in an 1859 California duel over the issue of slavery; a Dec. 11, 1860, letter written by President-elect Lincoln to Illinois Rep. William Kellogg in which he says "the tug has to come" over slavery; and "The Union is Dissolved!" a Dec. 20, 1860, broadside from the Charleston Mercury. The items placed on display in the museum plaza Feb. 10-15 cay be viewed that evening as well.

The Feb. 11 evening vigil is free and open to the public.

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A group of local actors will perform a program of readings twice that evening, at 6:30 and 8:15, in the museum's Union Theatre. The performances will include a selection from the book "Team of Rivals," by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

The next new exhibit at the presidential museum will be "Team of Rivals," opening in October. Taking its name from the title of the Goodwin book, the "Team of Rivals" exhibit will examine President Lincoln's controversial choices for his Cabinet and the tumultuous events leading to the firing on Fort Sumter that ignited the Civil War. The exhibit will open just prior to the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's election as president in November 2010, his Farewell Address to Springfield as president-elect in February 2011 and the start of the Civil War in April 2011.

For more information about special programs and exhibits at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, visit www.presidentlincoln.org.

[Text from Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum file received from Illinois Historic Preservation Agency]

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