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Smithsonian Presents Mobile Museum Exhibition Marking Lincoln Bicentennial as Part of Inauguration Celebration

January 15, 2009

The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum will present “Abraham Lincoln: Self-Made in America,” as part of the Smithsonian’s celebration of the 2009 Presidential Inauguration. The mobile museum exhibit explores the life and accomplishments of the 16th president of the United States. The exhibition will be on view at City Center (the old Convention Center) located at 11th and H streets, N.W., in Washington, D.C., Jan. 16-24. “Self-Made in America” will be on view Jan. 16-23 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Jan. 24 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free to the public.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee 2009 has contributed funds to support the presentation of “Abraham Lincoln: Self-Made in America” in Washington.

The only exhibit of its type in the country, the mobile museum is in a 53-foot-long, double expandable trailer. It uses an engaging mixture of interactive elements, photographs and maps, facsimiles of one-of-a-kind manuscripts and documents from the library’s collections and reproduction artifacts made especially for the exhibition to commemorate the Lincoln Bicentennial.

“Self-Made in America” examines Lincoln’s life from his poor beginnings to his ascension to the presidency and his assassination. Highlights include a visual re-creation of Lincoln’s 1861 Farewell Address from a train car in Springfield, Ill., as he left for the White House and the award-winning “The Civil War in Four Minutes” video presentation.

The “Self-Made in America” mobile exhibit was funded in part by a grant from the Illinois Bureau of Tourism. It was developed by Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum curators and historians working in concert with Mobility Resource Associates, a Michigan-based leader in creating custom mobile exhibition tours.

The exhibit debuted April 27, 2008, at the American Association of Museums Convention in Denver; it was on view at both 2008 national political conventions and will visit key Bicentennial events through August 2010, as well as major sporting events, elementary and secondary schools, colleges and other venues. For up-to-the-minute tour dates and locations, supplemental educational materials and information about the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, visit

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 50 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. Exhibition descriptions and tour schedules are available at

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Jennifer Schommer
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