A significant historical event is set to take place at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (ALPLM) as an original edition of Abraham Lincoln's iconic Gettysburg Address is unveiled for a limited 12-day exhibition from November 17 to November 28. This remarkable handwritten copy is the only one of its kind on regular public display in the United States and will return to secure storage after the exhibition.
To commemorate the 160th anniversary of Lincoln's delivery of the Gettysburg Address on November 19, the museum is offering free admission on that specific day. During the 12-day exhibit, visitors can also opt to pay just $5 to view the document without touring the rest of the museum.
For accessibility, the exhibit features QR codes that enable visitors with visual impairments to listen to a reading of the speech or access an easy-to-read text version, along with explanations of the speech's significance. Additionally, Lincoln Historian Christian McWhirter will engage with visitors on November 20, 21, and 22 at 12:30, discussing the inspiration behind Lincoln's words and the message he intended to convey to the divided nation.
The ALPLM's copy is one of only five handwritten copies of the Gettysburg Address, with the others housed at the White House, Cornell University, and the Library of Congress, rarely displayed to the general public. The ALPLM, however, regularly displays its copy each year around the anniversary of Lincoln's speech.
For those unable to visit in person, the ALPLM offers a dedicated webpage providing an up-close look at the presidential library's copy of the speech, educational resources, a photo gallery, and links to additional information about the Gettysburg Address.
The State of Illinois has owned this edition of the address, known as the Everett Copy, since 1944, thanks to contributions from the state's children. Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863, during the dedication of a national cemetery for Union soldiers who had perished at the Battle of Gettysburg.