Monday, May 10, 2010

Hello Mr. Lincoln

A little over a year and a half ago, I had the opportunity to be a part of writing a grant to the National Endowment for the Humanities for a $50,000 grant. This grant will enable the winners to be placed on an exclusive tour entitled: “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War.”

The tour was to be awarded to 25 libraries in the United States selected to host the traveling exhibition, which was organized by the National Constitution Center, Philadelphia, and the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office, Chicago.
Well, the grant was submitted a year ago February. We knew we had a killer proposal; we had a great team at the library working on the grant. But nevertheless, it looked as if our attempt was futile, and it was lying on fallow ground.

Ahh…but things change. In March of this year, we had our award letter. At times, it has been hard to contain my joy.  But life goes on. Therefore, I will be gone this week to the National Constitution Center, in Philadelphia, this week to train as the director of this project. I believe this will be a great opportunity for our region to have an exhibition of this magnitude. I have contacted guest speakers who will lecture concerning our region during the Civil War. Best of all, it will be housed in the new Donald W. Reynolds’s Library in Mountain Home, Arkansas.

The date of the tour will be September 26 – November 9, 2012. I know that may sound like a long time in the future, but scheduling activities, speakers, school/classroom tours, and other Civil War displays for 42 successive days...the timing is perfect. It will fall after the Baxter County Fair and Ozark County's Annual Hootin & Hollarin. I realize Yellville's Turkey Trot will probably during the first week. In addition to the timing, we will be settled in our new Library and ready to handle the crowds. If you are a teacher, parent, or someone who loves our country, etch this date in your memory and make plans for a visit.

This will be a 6 week exhibition that will tell the story of Abraham Lincoln’s struggle to meet the constitutional challenges of the Civil War. This traveling version explores Lincoln’s struggle to resolve the basic questions that divided Americans at the most perilous moment in the nation’s history: Was the United States truly one nation, or was it a confederacy of sovereign and separate states? How could a country founded on the belief that “all men are created equal” tolerate slavery? In a national crisis, would civil liberties be secure? President Lincoln used the Constitution to confront the secession of Southern states, slavery, and wartime civil liberties. Lincoln’s decisions about these three intertwined crises of war reinvented the Constitution and the promise of American life. I believe this exhibition develops a more complete understanding of Abraham Lincoln as president and the Civil War as the nation’s gravest constitutional crisis.

This exhibit is based upon an original interactive exhibit developed by the National Constitution Center. Hopefully, you will be able to visit and see what is happening. So, start making plans and find your old 1860 duds. While you’re there…drop by my desk and see me.

Any Questions???
Email Me.
I'll get back with you next week.

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