Lincoln heirlooms on display

New exhibit at Indy museum spans five generations.

Today the Indiana State Museum opens its new Lincoln exhibit, “The Lincolns: Five Generations of an American Family.” The exhibit will be open up until Aug. 4.

More than 150 items will be on display, including handwritten letters, photographs, Tiffany jewelry, candelabra and other family heirlooms.

Along with items from the museum’s Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection, objects in the exhibit will include 40 artifacts on loan from many of America’s leading historical institutions.

Today through March 2, visitors can see a rare copy of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which ended slavery, as well as a signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation. Because these documents are very fragile and old, they cannot be exposed to light for long periods of time and rarely are on display.

Highlights in the exhibit include:

* The Sum Book: At age 15, Abraham Lincoln assembled sheets of paper making his own book to practice math problems. Over time, pages have been separated. The Indiana State Museum exhibit has five pages on display, the largest group ever shown in one place.

* A cabinet designed and crafted (c. 1818) by Abraham Lincoln’s father, Thomas: The detail is impressive considering the rudimentary tools he had to work.

* Mary Todd’s Meissen porcelain figurine (c. 1835): Mary Todd Lincoln was a collector of figurines, which were made in Meissen, Germany. Another item displayed is a tea set she owned, which was crafted by a London potter who also worked for Queen Victoria.

* Toys the Lincolns’ sons played with in the White House: They include a toy cannon then-Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton acquired for Tad, the Lincolns’ youngest son.

* Photographs of the last documented Lincoln descendants: Siblings Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith and Mary “Peggy” Lincoln Beckwith were great-grandchildren of Abraham and Mary Lincoln

The Indiana State Museum is located in downtown Indianapolis at 650 W. Washington St. in White River State Park. For more information, call 1-317-232-1637, or visit www.indianamuseum.org.