VERONA — The allure of all things Abraham Lincoln showed itself to Verona Public Library officials in 2008, when 2,000 people in two days toured an 18-wheel mobile Lincoln exhibit in the library’s parking lot. Another Lincoln exhibit at the library in 2007 also drew enthusiastic crowds.
Now the 16th president has returned to the library as the focus of another traveling exhibit, this one an indoor display that explores the constitutional crisis at the heart of the Civil War.
“Lincoln is just one of those people in history who fascinates people and who is always going to be a big draw,” said library director Brian Simons.
The exhibit opened Nov. 27 and runs through Jan. 24. The opening reception is Saturday.
The exhibit was developed by the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and is touring libraries across the country through May 2015. The Verona library applied for and won a grant through the American Library Association to be among the hosts, said Trudy Lorandos, adult program coordinator.
The exhibit does not include any original artifacts. Rather, it presents information on five free-standing sections that together encompass 13 curved wall panels. Photographic replicas of historical documents, such as the Gettysburg Address and 13th Amendment, help tell the story of constitutional challenges Lincoln faced. There’s even a full-scale portrait of a standing Lincoln, so that you can feel very small next to him.
The Verona Public Library has a long history with traveling exhibits and makes securing them a priority, Simons said. Other exhibit topics have included dinosaurs and the African-American experience in baseball.
“The community tends to love them,” Simons said. “And it’s one more way to show that libraries aren’t just books. We tell all kinds of stories.”
In order to host the exhibit, a library had to commit to presenting at least two related programs featuring a lecture and discussion by a scholar in the humanities. The Verona library is topping that with eight special events. The first one, featuring Chicago musician Phil Passen performing music of the Civil War, was Thursday.