INDIANAPOLIS (December 12, 2008) - Governor Mitch Daniels today announced that Lincoln Financial Foundation (LFF) will donate its collection of Abraham Lincoln artifacts and documents to the state of Indiana.
"We enter Lincoln's bicentennial year with the goal or reestablishing Indiana's central place in his life," said Daniels. "This decision comes during Indiana's 192nd anniversary, but this is no birthday gift. It was well earned by the excellent team that represented us all. Indiana pledges the most exquisite care and the widest possible public availability of these priceless pieces of our history."
Valued at more than $20 million, this is the world's largest private collection memorabilia from Abraham Lincoln's personal and presidential life. It will be housed at the Indiana State Museum (ISM) in Indianapolis and the Allen County Public Library (ACPL) in Fort Wayne. Among the more than 20,000 items in the collection are signed copies of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment; three-dimensional artifacts including Lincoln's wallet and a chair he sat in for some of his most famous photographs; artwork; thousands of documents; photographs; prints and rare books.
"Lincoln is a beloved figure who has inspired generations of Americans. He spent his formative years in Indiana and we are grateful to keep the collection here in the state, accessible to all," said Barry Dressel, ISM president and CEO.
Over the past six months, LFF reviewed proposals from organizations across the country that were interested in caring for and displaying the collection. The Indiana team, including representatives from the ISM, ACPL, Indiana Historical Society, Indiana State Library, Friends of the Lincoln Museum, and Governor Daniels' office prepared the winning bid. An endowment, funded from private donations, will now be established to pay for expenses at the ISM and ACPL to maintain the collection and make it available to the widest possible audience.
The collection will join ISM's holdings of more than 500,000 artifacts and natural history specimens and will benefit from the museum's extensive experience in exhibition development, public programming and collections care. ACPL, which will house manuscripts, books, and periodicals, is home to one of the largest genealogical collections in the world and has tremendous expertise in preserving, cataloging, and digitizing rare books, manuscripts and records.
In 2010, ISM will debut a Library of Congress exhibition of rare Lincoln artifacts in connection with the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth. That exhibit will now be enhanced with several unique items from the LFF collection.
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