New Exhibits Open at the Eisenhower Presidential Museum
ABILENE, Kan. – Things are constantly changing and on the move at the Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home…and that includes exhibits! A new exhibit about Eisenhower’s early life and career along with a new supplement to the Library 50th Anniversary exhibit on the Civil War are now open.
Civil War: Lincoln, Lee and More!
In honor of the Library’s 50th anniversary and the Civil War’s 150th anniversary, Civil War letters, artifacts, newspapers and photographs from the collections are now on display through December 2012. The exhibit features original documents including a note written to the Secretary of War by Abraham Lincoln. Also displayed is a letter written by Mary Todd Lincoln thanking Queen Victoria for her kind words of condolence following Lincoln’s assassination. The majority of these items have never been on display before and for preservation purposes can only be out for a short time. Most of these items were gifts to Dwight D. Eisenhower; others arrived as part of collections donated directly to the Library.
Eisenhower had a lifelong personal interest in the Civil War and counted both Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee among his personal heroes. He twice lived near the site of the pivotal Battle of Gettysburg. Eisenhower served as commander of Camp Colt near Gettysburg during World War I and retired to a small farm next to the sprawling battlefield after the presidency.
Eisenhower: The Early Years
Dwight Eisenhower was born in 1890, the same year that the American Frontier closed. His formative years occurred against a backdrop of massive social, political, and cultural change. Eisenhower owed much of his success to the lessons he was smart enough to learn from the people around him, beginning with his parents and later including teachers, friends, and senior officers in the United States Army. Long before he served as the commander-in-chief of an international coalition or mastered the art of diplomacy, Dwight Eisenhower was following the very advice he gave near the end of his life.
“Always try to associate yourself closely with and learn as much as you can from those who know more than you, who do better than you, who see more clearly than you. Apart from the rewards of friendship, the association might pay off at some unforeseen time – that is only an accidental byproduct. The important thing is that the learning will make you a better person.”
The exhibit will explore what Dwight Eisenhower was doing during World War I and highlight his early success at training and organizing the soldiers under his command. Many of Eisenhower’s assignments took him outside the country, to nations like Panama, France and the Philippines. In addition to spending time in places that would become important in World War II, Eisenhower also worked closely with other future leaders and counted George Patton, Douglas MacArthur and George Marshall among his colleagues.
The “Early Years” exhibit is temporary and will be converted into a larger, permanent exhibit as museum renovations proceed over the next few years.