April 25, 2012



K-State Libraries to host Abraham Lincoln Exhibit

By Donna Ekart

Lincoln exhibit

Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War,” a traveling exhibition opening at Hale Library Sunday, examines how President Lincoln used the Constitution to confront three intertwined crises of the Civil War: the secession of Southern states, slavery and wartime civil liberties.

Lincoln is widely acknowledged as one of America’s greatest presidents, but his historical reputation is contested. Was he a calculating politician willing to accommodate slavery, or a principled leader justly celebrated as the Great Emancipator? This exhibition provides no easy answers. Rather, it encourages visitors to form a nuanced view of Lincoln by engaging them with Lincoln’s struggle to reconcile his policy preferences with basic American ideals of liberty and equality. This exhibition develops a more complete understanding of Abraham Lincoln as president and the Civil War as the nation’s gravest constitutional crisis.

“We are delighted to have been selected as a site for this exhibition,” said Lori A. Goetsch, dean of libraries. “We believe it will help visitors understand why Lincoln’s struggle with the Constitution still matters today.”

The National Constitution Center and the American Library Association Public Programs Office organized the traveling exhibition, which was made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The traveling exhibition is based on an exhibition of the same name developed by the National Constitution Center.

The traveling exhibition is composed of informative panels featuring photographic reproductions of original documents, including a draft of Lincoln’s first inaugural speech, the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment.

K-State Libraries are sponsoring free programs and other events for the public in connection with the exhibition, including an opening reception on Sunday from 1-3 p.m. in Hale Library. This event, which is free and open to the public, will include presentations by the Lecompton Reenactors  and the opportunity to view both the Lincoln exhibit and a companion exhibit featuring related materials from university archives and special collections. Contact Regina Beard for more information or to arrange a tour for your class or organization. “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War” will be on display at the library through June 5.