Lincoln College, chartered Lincoln University, began in 1865. Ground for the first building on campus, University Hall, was broken on Abraham Lincoln’s last living birthday. The Lincoln Heritage Museum began in 1942 when an 1887 Lincoln University alumnus Judge Lawrence Stringer willed his vast Lincoln and Logan County history collection to the college with the stipulation that a museum be established.
Initially, the collection was placed in “The Lincoln Room”, dedicated on February 11, 1944. The entire collection moved to the McKinstry Memorial Building in 1971 when the collections became part of what was then called the Lincoln College Museum. The collection continued to grow with donations from Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, the last surviving direct descendant of Abraham Lincoln, James Hickey, Ralph Newman, and John Gehlbach, among others.
The Lincoln Heritage Museum’s McKinstry Room houses over 1,500 books covering the life and times of Abraham Lincoln and those men and women who became involved in the events shaping the history of this great nation during the lifetime of the nation’s sixteenth President. Many of the books are rare and/or out of print, though many recent titles are included. Students, adults, amateur and professional historians are all invited to visit The McKinstry Room to use these facilities to read or research for information of interest involving the life of Lincoln. The Lincoln Heritage Museum also has among its collections hundreds of pamphlets and other documents of interest to the researcher. The majority of them are related to Abraham Lincoln, the state of Illinois, Logan County and its cities, towns or villages. For a listing of the materials available, please contact the museum staff.