Written by Dale Ogden, chief curator of cultural history at the Indiana State Museum
Twenty-seven days, two hours, six minutes ‘til we cut the ribbon and open the Lincoln exhibits to a select group of VIPs. The general public – by the thousands – will begin entering the galleries 16 hours later. I used to think anxiety attacks were invented by narcissistic baby-boomers. Being one myself, I can get away with saying that about my people.
I am not suffering an anxiety attack. I can, however, see a light at the end of the tunnel, and that bright beam focuses one’s attention with a bracing intensity. Let’s say great anticipation rather than high anxiety. That’s much more confident – accurate, too.
We’re in great shape. The Library of Congress portion of the project is in the house. Artifacts like the Bible Abraham Lincoln (and Barack Obama) took their oaths on, and a hand-written copy of Abe’s first inaugural address are acclimating to our environment. We’ll start unpacking crates on Monday.
We’ve signed off on proofs of the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection exhibit script, and all the support graphics, and we’re going over final elevations for which artifacts are going in which cases. All the mounts for our artifacts are built, conservation is largely complete, and our new display cases are in staging waiting to be placed in the galleries.
Plans for staff and volunteer training, visitor traffic control and security are in place. Schedules for “Members Only” functions are established. Educational programming and entertainment activities are a go. I’m doing the two to four press opportunities a week – print and electronic media – that I’ll be doing through February, in addition to the customary appearances before service groups and other interested organizations.
Production of a souvenir brochure is in the final stages. Video clips for the Lincoln trivia kiosk have been received from the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, the Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court, PBS analyst Tavis Smiley and several other Hoosier notables. Indiana’s most infamous cat, Garfield, has cut a clip that we haven’t seen yet. The “Kids Look at Lincoln” video is almost done. It’s great, and not just because my two little clones are the stars of the show. Planning for the ribbon cutting and celebration gala are proceeding full throttle. There’s more, much more! I’m waaaay past my word limit – again! Crud! I understand we already have over 10,000 reserved timed-tickets via our website. Come see us!
Anxiety attack!?! Pish-posh. Piece-O-cake!
The Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection was given to the State of Indiana in December 2008 by the Lincoln Financial Foundation. The Indiana State Museum is home to the historic objects and art while most of the books, documents and photographs reside at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne.