LMU's Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum Set for Phased Reopening

Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum

Lincoln Memorial modelLincoln Memorial University (LMU) President Clayton Hess and Chairman of the Board of Trustees Autry O.V. “Pete” DeBusk will cut the ribbon on the phase one reopening of the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum (ALLM) at 2 p.m. on Friday, October 8.

Following a day of celebration on Friday, the ALLM will offer free admission to the public on Saturday, October 9. A full day of family programming is planned to include activities in the Museum and outdoor fun in the Pioneer Village. In the ALLM, the National Society Daughters of the Union Lincoln Learning Lab will be open for the first time. The lab is a place for children to explore the past through play and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering Art, and Mathematics). In the Pioneer Village, demonstrations of the connections between science and the Civil War will take place, along with an apple butter demonstration from reenactors. At the Lincoln birthplace cabin, Mr. Lincoln himself (portrayed by Dennis Boggs) will be on hand to talk to visitors about his childhood and experiences as President.

The $7 million renovation and expansion project was funded, in part, by the Dorothy M. Kincaid $1 Million Matching Campaign, which exceeded its goal.  Closed to the public since 2019, the ALLM will reopen the first-floor galleries including updated exhibits covering Lincoln’s pioneer upbringing, self-education and rise in politics.

Returned on the first floor of the Museum is the Kincaid Gallery, which highlights several important artifacts from Lincoln's early life, including the corner cabinet built by his father and used in his boyhood home, scales he used as a grocer, and the Gerald McMurtry family gift of Lincoln family china from Springfield, Illinois. Visitors also can visit the Lincoln and the Constitution exhibit, with artifacts that have not been on display before, such as items from Lincoln's White House. Visitors will also enjoy exploring Lincoln's Last Days, a gallery dedicated to the end of the war and the assassination. There, visitors can see objects that have typically been in the ALLM vault, including a lock of Lincoln's hair cut at his autopsy. A reimagined children’s area is highlighted with interactive exhibits and a bright mural painted by local artist Cora Pat Howard.

Two new exhibits have a special community connection. The Story of LMU gallery will help visitors understand why there is a university dedicated to Lincoln in the hills of East Tennessee and tells alumni stories. And finally, the Rose Gallery displays a unique collection of Civil War weaponry and medical equipment collected over the years by Dr. Carroll Rose, a surgeon who has served Claiborne County Medical Center for 45 years. Among the collection are several unique Confederate weapons, some of which are the only remaining types in existence.

museum exhibitThe ALLM houses one of the most diverse Lincoln and Civil War collections in the country. Exhibited are rare items, including personal possessions of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, weapons, flags, manuscripts, paintings, sculptures, and other artifacts that tell the story of Lincoln and the Civil War period.

Phase two of the project will include the second-floor galleries dedicated to Lincoln’s depiction in art and media and a new Civil War exhibit. It is slated to reopen in early 2022 around the anniversary of Lincoln’s birth.  

Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies.  The main campus is located in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423-869-6280 or e-mail at [email protected].

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