Lincoln Legacy Exhibition
With statewide activities undertaken from 2007-2009, the Idaho Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission told the story of the sixteenth President’s personal connection to Idaho Territory and the state through a traveling exhibition that served over 300,000 school children and visitors statewide. When this exhibition was featured at the Idaho State Archives, hundreds of schoolchildren attended; this inspired donors David and Nancy Leroy in 2012 to bequest their collection to the Idaho State Historical Society, and request that the materials gifted to the State of Idaho be available to school children, families, and the public via exhibition.
The collection is arguably the most significant grouping of contemporary artifacts ever assembled relating to the relationship of Abraham Lincoln and the Rocky Mountain West. No institution, public or private, national or regional, can duplicate the 1,500 tangible objects, books, letters, photographs, publications, cartoons, relics, paintings, statuary, campaign mementos, association pieces and Lincoln family items now part of the collection of the Idaho State Archives.
Permanent Exhibition at the Idaho History Center provides public access to incredibly unique materials
Unique items on exhibit at the Idaho State Archives include Lincoln’s signed appointment of the first territorial Chief Justice; Lincoln’s signed appointment of the second territorial Governor; Lincoln’s remarks to Congress in 1863 and 1864 reporting on the progress made in organizing Idaho Territory; and the Order of Procession for the President’s funeral parade in Chicago on May 1, 1865, listing the Honorable William H. Wallace of Idaho Territory as a Member of Congress in attendance.
Visitors enter the exhibition through a reconstruction of the Lincoln-era Cabinet Room where President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in the White House. The reconstructed Cabinet Room contains replica furnishings, fixtures and wall coverings. Visitors exit through the last gallery depicting President Lincoln's assassination, which includes the only known copy of the Idaho Statesman of April 25, 1865 announcing the sad news of the President's death to Boise. In between, visitors explore four more exhibition galleries exploring the chronological and topical depiction of Lincoln’s life, achievements, and relations with the West.
The Research Center at the Idaho State Archives is first and foremost an educational center. Our impact goes beyond traditional scholars to reach life-long learners. This exhibition has immediate impact on visitors to the Research Center and provides a new, unique way to serve school groups, researchers, and tourists and visitors of all ages. The exhibition is free and accessible to all. Lincoln himself was a youth with no advantage. His rise to become a great leader and humanitarian make him the perfect role model for today’s youth and society.