Abraham Lincoln: Get to Know the Man at the Library of Congress

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Today, I had the pleasure of attending the press preview for the Library of Congress‘ new exhibit “With Malice Toward None: The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Exhibition.”

First off, I was pleased to see two of my other DC blogging brothers there with me.  I look forward to see the analysis of Frank Gruber from Somewhat Frank and Tom Bridge of We Love DC.  They’re both outstanding bloggers.

During college, I was a student under RIT Professor Joseph Fornieri, a renowned Lincoln scholar, so I definitely understood the history, importance of his presidency, and how he was able to hold the union together.  What was incredible about the Library of Congress’ exhibit is that I was able to see that history sitting before me.

You walk through the hall and you get to see documents, drawings, photos, and books that tell the story of Lincoln and the time which he lived.

IMG_0131Right before you there’ll be things like the Bible that he was sworn into office on (Prez. Obama too), a draft of the Gettysburg Address, contents of Lincoln’s pockets when he was assassinated,  the first draft of the Emancipation proclamation,  Lincoln’s Farewell Address, his first and second Inaugural addresses and much more.

Throughout the exhibition, you’re greeted by a variety of video screens which help to provide you with the context of what you’re seeing.

Overall, I think that if you have the opportunity to see this exhibit DO IT!   It opens to the public on February 12th at 5pm.  It really is a treasure trove that you get to see and interact with in a way that you may not get to do again for a long long time.

If you don’t live in Washington, DC or you won’t be visiting, there is an online companion to this exhibition.  It looks like the first half of it is currently available with the other half coming soon.

As a history nerd, these exhibitions make me giddy.  I could have spent hours inside the room looking at all pieces but the sad part is it ends.  The exhibition is a bit like a roller coaster ride.  You leave the room and you’re like “now what?” It’d be great if the Library of Congress could find a way to extend a visit to a exhibit into a relationship between me and the institution. It’d be great if the exhibit was just the beginning, where over time they continued to feed me more and more.  I’ll write up more on this later.

So… go see this exhibit.  It’s very rad.  You won’t regret it.

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