Commemorating Lincoln’s Springfield legacy brings to a close the Civil War’s 150th anniversary with speical exhibits and programs at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum has prepared three unique exhibits, A Fiendish Assassination, Undying words and A Decade Ago. A Fiendish Assassination exhibits of over 50 rare, most never before displayed artifacts such as Mary Lincoln’s bloodstained fan, mourning ribbons, a photograph of Lincoln in his casket and a swan feather sent to Lincoln’s tomb by Queen Victoria.
Among the prized artifacts united for the first time since the funeral, a pair of silver hearse medallions engraved “ In Memoriam A.L.” These extraordinary medallions were assumed lost when the Lincoln hearse burned in a St. Louis fire. In truth, the medallions had been removed before the fire and were only recently rediscovered by the ALPLM curators. One medallion was in a private collection in Texas, the other is housed in the collections of St. Louis Mercantile Library and Museum at the University of Missouri St. Louis, which was the first medallion found.
Undying Words: Lincoln 1858-1865 combines 120 documents and artifacts related to Lincoln’s speeches and his assassination. The heart of the exhibit are Lincoln’s the five most important speeches: “The House Divided” speech of 1858, his First Inaugural Address in 1861, the 1863 Gettysburg Address, his 1865 Second Inaugural and his final speech, on Reconstruction, given just three days before his assassination. Illustrating those speeches are several haunting artifacts. On view are Lincoln’s blood covered gloves, the Lincoln carriage and his deathbed from Petersen’s Boarding House, which was located across the street from Ford’s Theatre.
A happier exhibit, A Decade Ago, allows visitors to take a look at the not so distance past of the ALPLM ten-year history through its collections of objects, video and images related to the opening and the creation of its signature multi media program, Ghosts of the Library. Ghosts of the Library are included in the museum admission, which during the 150th memorial celebration weekend is specially priced.
Across the street from the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is Springfield’s historic Union Station. Inside is an exclusive exhibit designed to please both history buff and movie fan, Lincoln: History to Hollywood. On display are sets, costumes and props from the award-winning Steven Spielberg film, Lincoln. Highlighted in the exhibit are Abraham Lincoln’s office, a vignette of Mary Lincoln’s bedroom, and costumes and props used by the film’s star, Daniel Day-Lewis. Admission to Union Station can be purchased at a reduced rate the purchased of the ALPLM ticket.
Less than two blocks from Union Station is the Old Sate Capital. Built in the Greek revival style and completed in 1837 the Old Capital was reconstructed in the 1960s to reflect its Civil War era appearance. Its main floor is where Lincoln’s remains lay in state 150 years ago. Two floors have been furnished recreating the original offices and government chambers. Displayed in Representatives Hall where Lincoln made his famous House Divided speech is the original Lincoln desk believed used during his last term as state representative. A special exhibit of furniture from Lincoln’s funeral railroad car is on display until September 15.