The Oregon Historical Society unveiled a new exhibit, 2 Years, 1 Month: Lincoln’s Legacy, on April 12. The exhibit focuses on honoring one of the most prominent figures in American history, Abraham Lincoln. It runs until July 4.
“There’s something fascinating about Abraham Lincoln,” said Brian Carter, museum director of OHS and curator of the exhibit. “Something about Lincoln has made him resonate.”
“I think that people can expect a unique interaction with Lincoln and his legacy. He held one of the most important presidencies in one of the most critical time periods in American history, and what we would like to do is focus in on a particular period of his presidency,” Carter said.
The exhibit contains artifacts that were part of a local collaboration and features items from two significant years of Lincoln’s presidency. This period of time includes the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation and the monumental passing of the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
“We chose these two moments to look at a particular time when Lincoln really grappled with the dilemmas of the day,” Carter said.
The 2 Years, 1 Month: Lincoln’s Legacy exhibit contains an original copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln, the House of Representatives’ copy of the 13th Amendment, and correspondence between several presidents of the time period. Civil War artifacts are also included.
“We’re taught certain things about Lincoln, like he’s a saint, but you’re going to see different sides of how he made decisions and why he made decisions,” said Denise Brock, the education manager at the OHS.
“At the end, you might change your mind on what did we really get from Lincoln, what is his legacy, and what did he leave us.”
It is through the insights of Carter and Brock that the Lincoln’s Legacy exhibit can appeal to a large range of people.
“Even though it’s not exactly in my area of expertise, it would still be really cool to learn more about Abraham Lincoln and his time as president,” said Morgan Stills, a freshman at Portland State majoring in speech and hearing science.
“I want [visitors] to feel like they’re in a space where they just want to stay,” Brock said, “where it’s comfortable, it’s engaging, and they’re not only learning something, but they’re also having fun doing it.”
More about 2 Years, 1 Month: Lincoln’s Legacy, other exhibits, and how to get involved with the Oregon Historical Society can be found at www.ohs.org