Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Susan Medler
PH 816.268.8245
FAX 816.268.8299

Truman Library Opens Interactive Lincoln Exhibit
in Time for Summer Travelers and Hometown Tourists

INDEPENDENCE, MO-On May 16, 2008, the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum will open the dramatic and interactive exhibition Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War. Presented by UMB Bank and running from May 16 through September 14, the exhibition explores how one individual exercised leadership at a pivotal time of crisis for the nation, the Constitution, and the course of freedom worldwide.

Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War sheds light on one of our nation's darkest periods, and a largely unknown drama. Although the Civil War was a military conflict waged between North and South, at base it was a Constitutional crisis-the severest test of the American experiment in popular self-government since the founding of the Republic. Lincoln understood this, and his constant focus on the Constitution enabled him to chart a course that, ultimately, saved both Constitution and country.

Organized by the National Constitution Center in partnership with The Lincoln Museum in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and in cooperation with the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, the exhibition highlights the three constitutional crises which Lincoln faced as president: secession, slavery, and civil liberties during the Civil War.

Exhibition Highlights
The experience begins with a fast-paced video that takes visitors back to 1860 and a nation perched on the brink of war and raises the questions, Can the Constitution survive? Can America survive? Next, an engaging interactive introduces Abraham Lincoln; you are there on March 4, 1861, as Lincoln delivers his First Inaugural Address and raises his hand to take the Oath of Office. Lincoln's struggle to preserve the nation and the Constitution come alive through a blend of imagery, text, multimedia presentations, and computer interactives:

  • See original artifacts and documents, including rare signed copies of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery.
  • Listen to Lincoln defend his record on civil liberties against critics who branded him a "tyrant."
  • Help Lincoln solve the problem of slavery by choosing the right keys to unlock slavery from the Constitution.
  • At a recreated Civil War jail cell, play a computer game that lets you hold or release prisoners being held as "subversives."
  • At a computer polling station, decide whether you would vote for Lincoln in the 1864 presidential election.

The experience concludes with a question to every visitor: "Do you think America has lived up to the ideals Lincoln fought for - equality, freedom, democracy?" Adults and children alike will record their answers on Post-it notes, creating a dynamic exhibit that changes with each individual response.

Related Programs

Programs designed to engage visitors of all ages will be presented in conjunction with this special exhibition. Offerings will range from reduced admission on the Fourth of July (just $5 - you show us your "Lincoln," and we'll show you ours!) to a Lincoln Look Alike Contest to a Free Civil War Film Series beginning May 22 which will feature Glory (1989), Buster Keaton's The General (1927), Ride with the Devil (1999), and more. Program details will be published on TrumanLibrary.org as they are finalized.

"We are delighted to offer visitors this new view of President Lincoln in an exhibition that is as timely as it is engaging," said Truman Library Director Michael Devine. "The Truman Library is an ideal venue for this 21st-century experience. From families with young children to Civil War buffs, everyone will find something engaging in Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War."

Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War was made possible by the generous support of the Lincoln Financial Group and is presented locally by UMB Bank. Media sponsors include The Kansas City Star and Comcast.

Admission, Hours & Additional Information
Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War is included with Museum admission, which is free for children 5 and under, $3 for youths 6-15, $8 for adults, and $7 for senior adults 65 and older. To schedule group visits of this and the permanent exhibits of the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, please call 816.268.8221. For all other information, call 800-833-1225 or visit www.trumanlibrary.org.

The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum is open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Enjoy extended hours May through September on Thursday nights, when the Museum is open until 9 p.m. Located at 24 Highway and Delaware in historic Independence, Missouri-just 20 minutes from downtown Kansas City-the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum is one of 12 presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration.

The Truman Presidential Museum & Library is supported, in part, by the Harry S. Truman Library Institute, the not-for-profit partner of the Truman Library. The Institute seeks to promote, through educational and community programs, a greater appreciation and understanding of American politics, history and culture, the process of governance, and the importance of public service, as exemplified by Harry S. Truman. To learn more, visit TrumanLibrary.org.


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