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Lincoln at 200

The Newberry Library and Chicago History Museum
Methodtree, Inc.

To commemorate the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, the Newberry Library, in partnership with the Chicago History Museum and the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, has created an integrated pair of web exhibitions on Lincoln and the West and Lincoln and the Civil War.

Abraham Lincoln and the West, 1809–1860 is a Web-only exhibition that draws on an autobiography that Lincoln wrote for the 1860 presidential campaign and investigates how contests over westward expansion and the future of slavery shaped nineteenth-century political culture.

The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War is a digital version of a gallery exhibition at Chicago History Museum (October 10, 2009 to April 4, 2010). It chronicles the fundamental changes in Lincoln's thinking while president that ultimately saved the nation and gave all Americans a new birth of freedom.

Both digital exhibits draw on the rich collections of the Chicago History Museum and the Newberry Library. The digital items are gathered in a shared archive with a common set of metadata tags. Zoomable images enable readers to engage with primary documents and artifacts from the world Lincoln knew, including some documents in his own hand. References to books and speeches are linked to full-text versions available in major digital collections elsewhere whenever possible.

The exhibition employs a clear, restrained design with a historical feel that complements the organization of the exhibition around nineteenth-century documents as historical evidence.

The site was built using Omeka, open-source exhibition software created by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. Omeka has made it possible for small teams at two institutions to collaborate in creating an effective, high-quality Web exhibition in a relatively short span of time.

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