Museum marks Lincoln's 200th

February 08, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- The Allison-Antrim Museum in Greencastle wished a happy 200th birthday to the 16th president of the United States this weekend with a new display dedicated to Abraham Lincoln's life, death, legacy and politics.

The display is the museum's first collection devoted to Lincoln, and Curator Bonnie Shockey said that to honor his bicentennial birthday and emancipation of slavery, the collection will be on display through March.

Lincoln touched many people in Franklin County, Shockey said.

Whether it was a local man who got to glimpse the president in Washington, D.C., a soldier who fought under his leadership to end the Civil War or a slave awaiting his chance to be free, Shockey said evidence of how the people of Greencastle felt about Lincoln was abundant.

On Sunday, about 35 people perused the evidence of Lincoln's impact on Greencastle as the voice of Judy Cook sang the tale of "Greencastle Jenny," a 17-year-old girl who defiantly waved the stars and stripes at a Confederate general.


Most of the busts, paintings, lithographs, primary documents and sculptures on display belong to a local couple, Harry and Janet Myers, but Shockey said the display combines the Myers' pieces with permanent items in the museum collection to showcase Lincoln's impact on the country.

The combination of pieces like an original portrait of Lincoln by George PA Healy with a letter from a freed slave serving in the U.S. Army resonated with people, she said.

"There was a young girl that came in today who was just fascinated by the display," she said. "There have been so many people, I have not had much of a chance to hear their comments or see where they linger, but it is clear the display is popular."

For Shockey, the most interesting pieces in the collection are a letter signed by Lincoln naming Norman Camp as a hospital chaplain, the dozen issues of the Philadelphia Inquirer telling the story of Lincoln's death and a sculpture of the president holding a war council with Gen. Ulysses Grant and Secretary of War Edwin McMasters Stanton that used to be on display in the Greencastle-Antrim School District.

The museum will be open for visitors again Tuesday from 1 to 4 p.m. and by appointment this month.

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