Lincoln exhibits come to county library today

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By John Friedlein




ELIZABETHTOWN — Two traveling Abraham Lincoln exhibits will come together today in a town not too far from where Abe was born.

The HistoryMobile and the indoors “Forever Free: Abraham Lincoln’s Journey to Emancipation” exhibit will be at Hardin County Library’s main branch.

The exhibit on wheels — a 45-foot-long semi trailer — will include replicas of items from Lincoln’s childhood, such as a woodworking tool, audio recordings and visual displays.

HistoryMobile coordinator David Whealdon said the exhibit has been “well received” so far. That is, except for a few Southern sympathizers.

Thousands of visitors have been through the trailer.

The exhibit was supposed to premiere at the Feb. 12 bicentennial birthday kick-off in nearby Hodgenville, where Lincoln was born 199 years ago. But the event at the birthplace park was canceled because of an ice storm.

The mobile Lincoln exhibit, which replaced a Daniel Boone display, has traveled to different parts of the state.

The HistoryMobile project itself, sponsored by the Kentucky Historical Society, has been around for 35 years.

The concept is to take a museum around to rural areas that don’t have their own. This isn’t the case with Elizabethtown, though, as the Hardin County History Museum has an entire room dedicated to Lincoln.

The air-conditioned trailer will be in town today from noon to 7 p.m. Admission is free.

As for the “Forever Free: Abraham Lincoln’s Journey to Emancipation” installed in the library, that will stick around through late July. It opens today.

Timed to coincide with the bicentennial, it first opened in December at the Louisville Free Public Library’s main branch.

The exhibit “showcases rarely seen photographs and reproductions of famous documents, letters, engravings, newspaper reports, cartoons and memorabilia,” according to a Kentucky Historical Society press release.

It focuses on events leading up to the Emancipation Proclamation and the role of black soldiers in the Civil War.

After Elizabethtown, the exhibit will move to Lexington and Boyle County.

John Friedlein can be reached at (270) 505-1746.