NOTE: You will recall that the curator of the museum was a guest with us earlier this year.
Celebrating the life and legacy of our nation’s 16th President in honor of the 150th anniversary of his death and funeral
HOUSTON, TEXAS – April 15, 2015 – The National Museum of Funeral History celebrates the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln and commemorates the 150th anniversary of his death (on April 15, 1865) and subsequent funerals (in early May 1865) with the addition of new Lincoln-related artifacts and displays to the Museum’s Presidential Funerals exhibit.
The National Museum of Funeral History is adding a new section to its Presidential Funerals exhibit entitled “The Faces of Abe,” a chronological portrait history of Lincoln featuring 20 images which illustrate the change in Lincoln’s appearance over a nearly 20 year period, featuring both his pre-presidency and presidency years. Visitors will see firsthand how Lincoln’s appearance naturally matured in the years leading up to his presidency and then witness the drastic transformation, particularly to his facial features, over the course of his four years as president, as his role as our nation’s leader took its toll on him.
Additionally, the Museum will display a replica of Abraham Lincoln’s 1865 “death mask,” the original of which was cast using wet plaster to the face after his assassination. This exact replica, which even shows the bullet indention on Lincoln’s scalp where he was shot, was created by a local Houston area artist. Historically, death masks and their “life mask” counterparts were often created by sculptors or portraitists on either living subjects or the recently deceased before the age of photography to immortalize a person’s likeness. During his lifetime, Lincoln also had two life masks of himself casted.
In conjunction with Lincoln’s life mask and portrait history, the Museum also will feature the diaries of Anna B. Temple, a young 14-year-old girl living in Chester County, Pennsylvania in the 1800s. In January 1859, Temple began keeping a diary and continued her entries through the Civil War in 1865. These accounts were published in 1990 and include two pages of her own report on hearing the news of Lincoln’s death. The Museum has copies of Temple’s diaries available for sale in the Museum’s gift shop.
For the past year, the Museum has been “Looking for Lincoln” as part of its “Leave us your Lincoln” campaign, which encouraged visitors to leave their “Lincoln cash” – five dollar bills and /or pennies – to help support the Museum’s efforts to bring more Lincoln artifacts to the Presidential Funeral’s exhibit. Additionally, the Museum was relying on museum-goers to help fill the Lincoln Penny Folder, which features pennies that have been minted from as far back as 1909, as that was the first year Lincoln was ever featured on U.S. currency. As an unexpected result of this “call to action,” the Museum wound up receiving coins (and even some stamps!) from contributors around the country, including a collection of rare Lincoln coins and stamps from the early 1900s. Sure to be a hit amongst coin and stamp collectors, the rare collection will debut on June 20 as a new permanent feature to the Presidential Funerals exhibit. A few highlights from the collection – a penny from 1910 and an authenticated collection of six stamps commemorating the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, including a 4¢ Lincoln stamp from 1959 in honor of the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, a 25¢ Frederick Douglas stamp from 1967, a 13¢ Harriet Tubman stamp from 1978 and more. Additionally, coin enthusiasts will marvel at the Museum’s “Money Casket,” a custom-made casket made with authentic dollar bills and coins, featured in the Coffins & Caskets of the Past exhibit.