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‘Lincoln’s Undying Words’ Ring True Today


Lincoln Family Carriage and Deathbed on Display at the Chicago History Museum

What does your candidate stand for? This election year, revisit Abraham Lincoln’s legacy and discover how his evolving views on slavery transformed America in “Lincoln’s Undying Words,” opening Saturday, April 9, at the Chicago History Museum.

The exhibition, developed in collaboration with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois, explores this powerful story through five of Lincoln’s key speeches: A House Divided, 1858; his first inaugural address, 1861; the Gettysburg Address, 1863; his second inaugural address, March 1865; and the speech on Reconstruction, April 1865, given three days before his assassination. “We are delighted to explore Lincoln’s ideas through five key speeches made during the most critical chapter in our nation’s history. Today, those speeches continue to challenge and inspire people everywhere,” said Gary T. Johnson, president of the Chicago History Museum.

Visitors will see rare treasures and artifacts related to Lincoln, including his family’s carriage, on display at the Museum for the first time in 30 years, and deathbed, a treasured icon of the Museum’s collection since 1920. Among the highlights:

  • A first edition of Solomon Northup’s book, “Twelve Years a Slave”
  • “The Railsplitter,” an imaginative portrait that helped Lincoln become president
  • Lincoln’s last order to General Ulysses S. Grant “We are not enemies, but friends.

We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection.”— Lincoln’s appeal to the South in his first inaugural address, March 4, 1861

As you walk through the exhibition, hear Lincoln actor Michael Krebs read selected excerpts from the speeches. This captivating iPod audio experience brings Lincoln’s words to life.

Engaging interactive elements enhance the presentation of Lincoln’s speeches, encouraging visitors to explore Lincoln’s ideas on a deeper level. “Lincoln’s Undying Words” is presented in partnership with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois. This exhibition includes artifacts from the Chicago History Museum’s renowned John and Jeanne Rowe Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln Collection. Educational programs for Undying Words are sponsored by the Efroymson Family Fund; the exhibition’s corporate sponsor is Wintrust.


The Chicago History Museum is situated on ancestral homelands of the Potawatomi people, who cared for the land until forced out by non-Native settlers. Established in 1856, the Museum is now at 1601 N. Clark Street in Lincoln Park, its third location. As a major museum and research center for Chicago and U.S. history, the Chicago History Museum strives to be a destination for learning, inspiration and civic engagement. Through dynamic exhibitions, tours, publications, special events and programming, the Museum connects people to Chicago’s history and to each other. To share Chicago stories, the Museum collects and preserves millions of artifacts, documents, images and other items that are relevant to the city’s history. The Museum gratefully acknowledges the support of the Chicago Park District on behalf of the people of Chicago. 

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