SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WMBD)– An original edition of the Gettysburg Address will be displayed for 12 days at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
A Lincoln Museum news release states that the document will be exhibited Nov. 17 through Nov. 28. Admission will be free on Nov. 19, the 160th anniversary of Lincoln’s speech in Gettysburg.
The museum is the only place in America where the public can view the document written in his own hand.
“In 272 powerful words, Abraham Lincoln captured the pain of the Civil War and the truth of what was at stake: a new birth of freedom,” said Christina Shutt, executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
She continued, “This handwritten copy of his address is a national treasure. We hope offering free admission allows more people to appreciate it in person.”
Five handwritten copies of the Gettysburg Address remain. There is one in the White House, one at Cornell University, and two at the Library of Congress. Their copies, however, are rarely displayed to the public.
“Most people know a few famous phrases from the Gettysburg Address, but they haven’t thought much about what the words mean or how they influenced the nation’s ideals. Seeing the document in person offers a rare chance to connect personally and reflect on what it asks of us as individuals and as a country,” said Brian Mitchell, the ALPLM’s director of research and interpretation.
The State of Illinois purchased this copy from private owners in 1944. After being displayed, it will be returned to a climate-controlled vault for safekeeping.