Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Welcome to the Lincoln Heritage Museum blog! In this blog, we'll keep all of our followers updated on the happenings of the museum, provide information about our artifacts, and just give some information about what it is like working at the museum. 

But first.....let me tell you a little about the history of Lincoln, Illinois, Lincoln College, and our museum!  Many might not know about the city of Lincoln but it has a long history with Abraham Lincoln.  The town has the distinction of being the first town named after Abraham Lincoln before he became President.  In 1853, Lincoln, a local lawyer from Springfield, assisted with the platting of the town.  In honor of his assistance, town leaders named the city after their friend, Abraham Lincoln.  On August 27, 1853, Lincoln participated in the naming ceremony for the city.  During the ceremony, Lincoln took a watermelon from a covered wagon, broke the watermelon, and poured its' juices on the ground, christening the city. 

Lincoln College, home of the Lincoln Heritage Museum, also has a long history with Abraham Lincoln.  The college was established by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.  Due to the Civil War, the denomination wanted a school in the North since all of the other schools were located in the South.  The college received its charter on February 6, 1865.  College founders decided to name the school after their friend and President, Abraham Lincoln.  The groundbreaking for the first building, University Hall, which still stands, was held on February 12, 1865, Lincoln's last living birthday.  The college became the first and only institution named after Lincoln before his death.

The Lincoln Heritage Museum was founded in 1942.  Originally known as the Lincoln College Museum, it began when an 1887 alumnus, Judge Lawrence Stringer, donated his collection of Lincoln documents and statues to Lincoln College, on the stipulation that a museum be founded.  Initially, the collection was placed in “The Lincoln Room”, dedicated on February 11, 1944.  The entire collection moved to the McKinstry Memorial Building in 1971 when the collections became part of the Lincoln College Museum.  The collection continued to grow with donations from Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, the last surviving direct descendant of Abraham Lincoln, James Hickey, Ralph Newman, and John Gehlbach, among others. In October, 2008, the museum officially changed its name to the Lincoln Heritage Museum to better reflect the museum’s mission of preserving the legacy and heritage of Abraham Lincoln.  In coming years, the museum will move from its current location in the McKinstry Memorial Building to the new Lincoln Center, located on the north side of the Lincoln College campus.

    The interior of the Lincoln Heritage Museum

This statue of Abraham Lincoln sits in front of the Lincoln Center, the future home of the Lincoln Heritage Museum. 

Keep checking the blog for more updates or find the museum on facebook at www.facebook.com/lincolnheritage or check out the museum's website at www.lincolncollege.edu/museum

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