Lincolns celebrate Honest Abe’s birthday

LINCOLN, Nebraska (Nebraska). On Saturday you could hear the story floating in the air and see it at the Nebraska History Museum.

“This is a fun way to celebrate not only our city, but also to celebrate the 16th president,” said Ashley Anderson, education curator at the museum. “And especially at a time when we’re talking about American democracy and thinking about what that has meant in the past and what it means in the present and future.”

The musicians hummed the sounds of the 1860s, taking dozens of guests celebrating the 214th birthday of Abraham Lincoln, that is, on Sunday, into the past. People dressed in Civil War uniforms shared stories and artifacts, while kids played with Lincoln Logs and decorated their own top hats in honor of Honest Abe.

For reenactor Paul Lahovec, history is what you wear as much as what you read.

“This was not just a character from a history book,” Lahovets said. “There were a lot of people living their lives regardless of the history that was around it. A lot of people forget about the little people.”

This story came to life in simple ways, in a reconstruction of the Gettysburg Address. And then there were heated discussions about why Lincoln mattered then and still matters today.

“I like to say that if we don’t understand our past, we won’t understand our present,” Anderson said. “And it’s a really great way to think about it and look into the future.”

The Nebraska State Historical Museum recently opened the Smithsonian Traveling Institution’s American Democracy exhibit on the third floor. This exhibition explores the political history of America, from its founding to the time of Lincoln to the present day.

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