Celebrate Lincoln’s birth, LMU’s founding

Published 2:52 pm Sunday, February 6, 2022

Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum to celebrate milestones

Lincoln Memorial University is kicking off special programming and events in celebration of the 125th anniversary of LMU’s charter and founding, as well as in honor of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. The celebration will kick off at the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum (ALLM) on the campus of LMU on Feb. 11 and 12. LMU was founded on Feb. 12, 1897, and there is a year of events planned in honor of its quasquicentennial.

Beginning on Feb. 11 at 4:30 p.m., everyone is invited to attend a wreath-laying ceremony at the Lincoln Statue inside the ALLM.

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At 5 p.m., Dr. Clayton Hess, LMU president, will make a formal announcement of the 125th celebration year. Renowned Lincoln actor Dennis Boggs will then read the Gettysburg Address. Dr. April Church, associate vice president for academic affairs, will sing “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and the ceremony will conclude with the introduction of the James Simmons Annual Scholarship Award for an outstanding history major. Boggs will perform as Abraham Lincoln at 6 p.m., in “An Evening with Mr. Lincoln.”

Audience members will be able to take pictures with Boggs after the performance, and refreshments will be available at that time.

On Feb. 12, the ALLM will open at 10 a.m. with activities planned throughout the day. Admission will be free. Museum staff will offer the annual behind-the-scenes Inside the Vault tour but will take the items to the Daughter’s room in the ALLM for added space. The ALLM archivist will allow participants to see special items up close and will provide detailed information. Tickets are free, but must be reserved at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/253247007617.

Guided tours will be available all day, no ticket required. Documentaries and Steven Spielberg’s movie “Lincoln” will be showing in the ALLM auditorium. Special family activities will take place throughout the galleries, with a soft opening of the upstairs area of the museum. A formal dedication of that area will occur during LMU’s Homecoming festivities in October. Additionally, students from LMU’s Honors Program will be on hand February 12 to interview alumni about their experiences while at LMU.

“It is exciting to once again welcome the public back through our doors on Lincoln’s birthday. Our surrounding community has so many LMU connections, and the ability to provide programming that appeals to the entire family is something we look forward to each year,” said Natalie Sweet, ALLM program coordinator. “This year is made even more special by the 125th anniversary of the University, and we can’t wait to welcome alumni back to contribute their stories to our oral history project and to see themselves in our new LMU exhibit.”

The events are free and open to the public. Seating is limited for “An Evening with Mr. Lincoln,” so tickets are required and available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/256059339377. More information on it and the Inside the Vault tour can be found at Museum.LMUnet.edu and tickets are also available via Eventbrite through the ALLM Facebook page.

LMU will celebrate “Four Seasons to New Seasons” during 2022. The theme highlights the University’s humble beginnings on the grounds of the then-defunct Four Seasons Hotel. In 1896, Reverend A.A. Myers, who was running the Harrow Academy, invited Civil War General Oliver Otis Howard to speak at the school’s graduation ceremony. During the visit, Myers shared his vision for an institution of higher education on the site of the Four Seasons. Howard recalled a conversation he had with President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, where Lincoln expressed a wish to repay the Appalachian people for their loyalty. Howard agreed to assist Myers by building a school that would serve as a living memorial to Lincoln while providing educational opportunities for underserved populations. LMU was founded on the anniversary of Lincoln’s birth in 1897, nestled in the Cumberland Gap at the site of the Four Seasons Hotel.

A full calendar of events can be found online. For more information on events at the ALLM, contact Sweet at Natalie.sweet@LMUnet.edu.

The Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum’s recent multimillion dollar renovation continues its excellence as an award-winning museum, which includes the Past President’s Award from the Tennessee Association of Museums in 2019 and multiple Awards of Excellence from 2019-2021. The museum is available for tours to the public, schools, and special interest groups. Interested parties can reserve a tour by calling 423-869-6235.

Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The main campus is in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423-869-6280 or email at admissions@LMUnet.edu.