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Explore the Museum Collection

/Explore the Museum Collection
Explore the Museum Collection 2018-02-09T10:04:43+00:00

Located on the campus of the only college named for Lincoln in his lifetime, the Lincoln Heritage Museum exhibits a rare and valuable collection of artifacts that tell the story of the life and times of Abraham Lincoln. Here are only a few examples of the vast artifacts in the collection.

“The Head of Lincoln”

Renowned artist Sacha Newly donated his artwork to the Lincoln Heritage Museum in 2008. “The Head of Lincoln” depicts a young Abraham Lincoln and includes the words of the Gettysburg Address.

Lincoln Home Artifacts

The museum houses several artifacts from the Lincoln Home in Springfield, Illinois. This rocker belonged to Tad Lincoln, the youngest of Abraham Lincoln’s four sons. In a time when material possessions were few, this rocker exhibits the pride that Tad had in his chair, and exemplifies the mischief that the Lincoln boys often created. Young Tad was likely aged 7 or 8 when he carved with a pocketknife his name on the back of his chair.

Campaign Banner

This one-of-a-kind canvas campaign banner, featuring an axe and a maul, and made in lampblack, reflects the “Railsplitter Candidate” campaign images that were closely with Lincoln’s presidential run in 1860. It was used in several rallies in central Illinois that year, and undoubtedly helped launch Lincoln from a grassroots candidate to a national candidate.

Union Drum

Important to keeping up the troops’ marching rhythm, as well as their war spirit and resolve, this original Civil War Union drum was used in several Virginia battles including Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. With it are the original straps and sticks. The drum is among the many original Civil War pieces that the museum exhibits, alongside several Civil War rifles, recruitment broadsides, diaries, and personal effects soldiers carried with them into battle and camp life.


On February 12, 2004, the Lincoln Heritage Museum unveiled an original 1865 William Cogswell oil canvas portrait of Abraham Lincoln. The artist, Cogswell, was known as a portraitist of some distinction, and his subjects include Presidents Lincoln, Grant, and McKinley. The portrait was donated by Louis Starr of New York who felt that the Lincoln Heritage Museum would be a fitting home for the painting.