Celebrate Abe’s 200th Birthday
Abraham Lincoln has been all over the news lately. The media drew parallels galore between Lincoln and Obama: Both thin men of humble origins, each served Illinois for one term in Congress before becoming president. Both our 16th and our 44th presidents arrived by whistle-stop train tour for their celebrated inaugurations; the same bible swore each into office; and both rally their fractious nation through masterful stagecraft as talented orators.
Beyond the Lincoln/Obama comparisons, of course, Lincoln is in the news as it’s his 200th birthday this Thursday, February 12th. The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission has assembled a great website that compiles heaps of commemorative and celebratory events around the U.S. as well as trivia quizzes, background on Lincoln, and even resources for teachers to bring Lincoln into their classrooms.
IT’s browsed the Lincoln Bicentennial site and below, share some of the events that caught our eye, starting with our dear District and moving out throughout the country.
Events in Washington, DC
See the Emancipation Proclamation with your own eyes at the National Archives from Thursday through Monday, 2/16. If you swing by on Monday, 2/16, you can also see Senator McGovernor discuss and sign copies of his new book, Abraham Lincoln.
Kids will enjoy interactive events Monday, 2/16, from 9 a.m -3 p.m., at the White House Visitor Center’s “President for a Day,” where they can chat with Lincoln and craft their own correspondence with quill and ink.
On Thursday at noon, a reading of the Gettysburg Address and performances of 19th-century music will follow a wreath-laying ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial.
The Kennedy Center will host a choral festival of 350 voices to celebrate Lincoln, Monday, 2/16, at 2 pm. Tickets are $10.
The site of John Wilkes Booth’s assassination of Lincoln on April 14, 1865, Ford’s Theatre reopens after an extensive 18-month renovation. On Thursday from 9 a.m. -5 p.m., the theatre will host a full schedule of speakers, performances, and activities to commemorate Lincoln’s life and presidency. Students will read his speeches and a brass band will play Civil War-era hits. The Heavens Were Hung in Black, a play detailing Lincoln’s struggles in 1862, premieres.
The National Gallery of Art will screen a documentary about the Shaw Memorial, Saint-Gaudens’ sculpture commemorating the Massachusetts 54th Regiment, one of the first African American regiments to serve in the Civil War.
Learn about Lincoln’s dramatic death and the doctors who attended to him in his final hours at the National Museum of Health and Medicine. See bone fragments and clumps of hair from his fatal wound. This special exhibit runs through the end of December, 2009.
Stop by President Lincoln’s Cottage, his family’s home during the summers of the Civil War, at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Northwest DC. Check out its full range of Lincolniana
Events in Texas
In Dallas/Fort Worth, the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth will host presidential historian and Pulitzer-prize winner James McPherson
as he discusses his work, Tired by War, Thursday, 2/12, from 11:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.
Events in New York
The Riverside Church
will host the Lincoln Bicentennial Gala Concert to benefit the Riverside Food Pantry. The Riverside Inspirational Choir, the New York City Labor Chorus, and the Orchestra of the Aaron Copeland School of Music at Queens College will perform.
Events in Illinois
Join the pilgrimage to Lincoln’s tomb and join in living history programs at Lincoln’s Home in Springfield. Attend a period ball in mid-1800s couture at the Lincoln Presidential Museum Plaza.
Events in Connecticut
Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born within hours of each other on February 12,1809. To mark the bicentennial of these two influential men, Daniel Bernard Roumain created a masterful orchestral composition
for an 18-piece chamber orchestra entitled “Darwin’s Meditation for the People of Lincoln.” It will be performed on Thursday, 2/12, at 8 pm at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. Its website boasts it’s a “scintillating … sonic vision of what it means to be free.”
Events in Pennsylvania
The David Wills House, where Lincoln put the finishing touches on the Gettysburg Address, will celebrate its Grand Opening on Lincoln’s birthday. The world-class museum tells Lincoln’s story and details the writing of the iconic Gettysburg Address.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
Events in Ohio
The University of Akron will host the Akron Symphony
and a multimedia tribute to Lincoln. Three screens suspended 42 feet above the orchestra will be illuminated with images of Lincoln and his times while the orchestra performs music by Copeland and Phillip Glass.
Events in Oregon
Portland State University
will celebrate Lincoln’s birthday all week long with a read-a-thon of books on Lincoln, a Lincoln movie night, and a candlelight vigil.
Events in Kentucky
At Lincoln’s birthplace, a wreath-laying ceremony will be followed by a dedication of his boyhood home at Knob Creek.
How will you commemorate Lincoln’s 200th birthday? What events are going on in your area?
Photo: The Library of Congress Flickr Pool. Check out the complete set here.