The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service
(SITES) and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum will tour “Abraham Lincoln: Self-Made in America,” to a number of Washington, D.C., area schools Jan. 29 through Feb. 7. The mobile museum exhibit explores the life and accomplishments of the 16th president of the United States. The exhibition will be on view at La Plata High School in La Plata, Md., Lorton Station Elementary School in Lorton, Va., Mount Vernon High School in Alexandria, Va., and West Springfield High School in Springfield, Va. (see full itinerary below).
The local tour is part of the Smithsonian’s celebration of the 2009 Presidential Inauguration and is supported by The Presidential Inaugural Committee 2009.
The only exhibit of its type in the country, the mobile museum is in a 53-foot-long, double expandable trailer. It uses an engaging mixture of interactive elements, photographs and maps, facsimiles of one-of-a-kind manuscripts and documents from the library’s collections and reproduction artifacts made especially for the exhibition to commemorate the Lincoln Bicentennial.
“Self-Made in America” examines Lincoln’s life from his poor beginnings to his ascension to the presidency and his assassination. Highlights include a visual re-creation of Lincoln’s 1861 Farewell Address from a train car in Springfield, Ill., as he left for the White House and the award-winning “The Civil War in Four Minutes” video presentation.
The “Self-Made in America” mobile exhibit was funded in part by a grant from the Illinois Bureau of Tourism. It was developed by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum curators and historians working in concert with MRA, Inc., a Michigan-based leader in creating custom mobile experiential tours.
The exhibit debuted April 27, 2008, at the American Association of Museums Convention in Denver; it was on view at both 2008 national political conventions and will visit key Bicentennial events through August 2010, as well as major sporting events, elementary and secondary schools, colleges and other venues.