New Traveling Exhibit on Lincoln Opens July 8 at Historic Fort Snelling

For immediate release

Release dated: 
July 2, 2015
Media contacts: 

Lauren Peck, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3137,
Jessica Kohen, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3148,

Quick facts: 

: “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War” Exhibit Opens 
Date: Open July 8, 2015-Aug. 20, 2015
Place: Historic Fort Snelling, 200 Tower Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55111
Cost: FREE. Does not include site admission of $11 adults, $9 seniors and college students, $6 children ages 6-17, free for MNHS members

New Traveling Exhibit on Lincoln Opens July 8 at Historic Fort Snelling

Exhibit Tells the Story of Abraham Lincoln’s Struggle to Meet the Constitutional Challenges of the Civil War

exhibit photo #1“Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War,” a traveling exhibit opening at Historic Fort Snelling on Wednesday, July 8, 2015, examines how President Lincoln used the Constitution to confront three intertwined crises of the Civil War—the secession of Southern states, slavery and wartime civil liberties.

Lincoln is widely acknowledged as one of America’s greatest presidents, but his historical reputation is contested. Was he a calculating politician willing to accommodate slavery, or a principled leader justly celebrated as the Great Emancipator? This exhibit provides no easy answers. Rather, through informative panels featuring photographic reproductions of original documents—including a draft of Lincoln’s first inaugural speech, the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment—it encourages visitors to form a nuanced view of Lincoln by engaging them with Lincoln’s struggle to reconcile his policy preferences with basic American ideals of liberty and equality. This exhibit develops a more complete understanding of Abraham Lincoln as president and the Civil War as the nation’s gravest constitutional crisis.

In addition to the exhibit, Historic Fort Snelling will hold a special lecture entitled “Lincoln, the Courts, the Constitution and the Crisis of Slavery” by Dr. William D. Green, professor of history at Augsburg College, who will speak on the debate over slavery during Lincoln’s presidency. The lecture will occur at the Historic Fort Snelling Visitor Center on Saturday, July 11 at 1 pm.

Fort Snelling will also host its annual Civil War Weekend August 15 and 16, and this year, the Fort will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the war’s end by recreating what Minnesota soldiers’ homecoming was like in 1865. The weekend will include costumed staff, reenactors, cannon and musket firings, short films by the Minnesota Civil War Task Force and much more.

“Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War” is free and open to the public and will be on display until Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015.

The National Constitution Center and the American Library Association Public Programs Office organized this traveling exhibit, which was made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH): great ideas brought to life. The traveling exhibition is based on an exhibit of the same name developed by the National Constitution Center.

Photo credit: ©2009 Alusiv, Inc.

About Historic Fort Snelling

Historic Fort Snelling is located near the airport at the intersections of Hwys. 5 and 55. Originally a frontier outpost, this fort was later used for military training from the Civil War through World War II. Overlooking the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, the site is staffed with living-history interpreters who portray the soldiers, cooks, laundresses, storekeepers and craftspersons who inhabited the fort in the 1800s. The stone and wood-frame buildings have been restored to their original appearance. For more information, call 612-726-1171.

The Society’s calendar of events is posted online at The website also has information about all of the Society’s programs, museums and historic sites.

The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. The Society collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, the Society preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history.

The Minnesota Historical Society is supported in part by its Premier Partners: Xcel Energy and Explore Minnesota Tourism.