Our newest exhibit, “Rare and Rarely Seen,” celebrates the stunning depth of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum’s collection. It opens the vault door and shows off fascinating artifacts that take visitors from medieval England to Nazi Germany to Hollywood.
The exhibit explains the significance, whether happy or tragic, of these items and provides the sometimes-surprising stories of how they ended up at the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. After all, there can’t be any connection between Abraham Lincoln and Marilyn Monroe, can there?
The exhibit includes:
Wooden shoes from a concentration camp
Hand-carved shoes of the type often worn by inmates of Nazi concentration camps. The shoes have tacks nailed into the soles for traction. “Dackau/1945” – a misspelling of Dachau, the first German concentration camp – is written inside.
A death mask
This mask of Hardin W. Masters was made immediately after his death in 1925. Though less common by the 1920s, death masks had once been a common way for families to preserve the image of a loved one. Masters was the father of Edgar Lee Masters, author of “Spoon River Anthology.”
World War One poster
This broadside, or poster, from 1918 was mass-produced and sold for 25 cents. It encouraged enlistment by African-American men while also reminding white audiences that the nation’s black population was making sacrifices, too.
This jersey was signed by nine members of the Chicago Blackhawks team that won the National Hockey League championship in 2013.
This document appointed Revolutionary War veteran Aquila Giles a federal marshal in New York. More importantly, it was signed by then-president George Washington and future president Thomas Jefferson.
This document was written by Johannes I, Bishop of London, in 1274, making it the oldest item in the ALPLM’s collection. It is a grant of land to an abbot.
The exhibit also includes two interactive features. One was inspired by the section on politics and will let visitors vote on their favorite item in the exhibit. Another asks visitors to write about rare, precious items from their own lives; their answers will be posted for everyone to see.
The exhibit will be accompanied by a series of special events over the next four months. Kid-friendly events are planned for Oct. 3 and Oct. 10. The historians and curators who produced the exhibit will offer a behind-the-scenes look at it on Nov. 17. For more on these events, visit the “Special Event Reservations
” of this website.
“Rare and Rarely Seen” runs Sept. 28, 2016, to Jan. 29, 2017. It is free with regular museum admission.