Monday, January 2, 2012

Traveling Lincoln Civil War exhibit to open at Aurora University on Jan. 3

AURORA, Ill. — "Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War," a traveling exhibition by the American Library Association, will be displayed at the Aurora University Phillips Library from Jan. 3 to Feb. 17.
The public is invited to the exhibit at the library, 315 S. Gladstone Ave., and companion events. Admission is free.
The display includes informative panels featuring photographic reproductions of original documents, including a draft of Abraham Lincoln's first inaugural speech, the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment. The exhibit 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.
Three companion events are planned:
  • Jan. 10: An opening reception will be held at the library from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Speakers include AU President Rebecca L. Sherrick and Gerald Butters, Professor of History. Students will recite Lincoln speeches, and period music will be performed by the AU Chorale.
  • Jan. 10: "The Conspirator," a film about Mary Surratt, the lone female charged as a co-conspirator in Lincoln's assassination, will be shown at 7:30 p.m. in Perry Theatre in the Aurora Foundation Center, 1305 Kenilworth Place. Douglas Kieso, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, will lead a post-screening discussion.
  • Feb. 7: Presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin will explore what it would look like if Lincoln ran for president today during a Celebrating Arts and Ideas lecture at 7:30 p.m. in Crimi Auditorium, 407 S. Calumet Ave. Reservations are required. Call (630) 844-4924 ,email or visit
"Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War" encourages visitors to form a nuanced view of Lincoln by engaging them with his 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 during the nation's gravest constitutional crisis.
"We are delighted to have been selected as a site for this exhibition," said John Law, AU library director."This exhibition shows how Lincoln struggled with issues of secession, slavery and civil liberties — all questions our country's founding charter left unanswered. Each section of the exhibit features information about a different aspect of Lincoln's presidency.
"Most importantly, the exhibit helps 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 (NEH): great ideas brought to life. The traveling exhibition is based on an exhibition of the same name developed by the National Constitution Center.
For library hours and more information, visit

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