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Joplin Museum Showcases Newly Acquired Artifacts from Lincoln As - KOAM TV 7

Joplin Museum Showcases Newly Acquired Artifacts from Lincoln Assassination

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Joplin, MO -

Newly acquired artifacts from the Lincoln assassination are now on display at Joplin's Museum Complex.  A local historian says they offer one more perspective to one of America's definitive moments in history.

Take a moment to reflect on April.

"The first was the assassination of Abraham Lincoln on April 15th, 1865," says Allen Shirley with the Joplin Historic Society Board.  "The second tragedy was the sinking of the Titanic on April 15th, 1912.  The third tragedy, that's the day your state and federal taxes are due.  That's a tragedy we all have to live with!"

This new exhibit is meant to take people back to the first tragedy.

"We had never had an assassination of a president before Abraham Lincoln," says Shirley.

There's a picture of Abraham Lincoln giving a speech for his second inauguration as president.  Right above him on a balcony is John Wilkes Booth.  Below Lincoln, in a crowd, ended up being co-conspirators in Lincoln's murder just a few days later.

Shirley is also showing artifacts endorses by Christie's Auction House.  A sliver of a piece of hair belongs to Mary Surratt, the first and last woman to be hanged for capital punishment.  It may surprise you to also see small pieces of hair from Lincoln and Secretary of State William Seward.

"It was a very common practice in the late to mid 1800's for people to give locks of hair as personal gifts to friends," says Shirley.

A small piece of cloth was part of Mary Todd Lincoln's dress she wore when her husband was shot.

"It was the most tragic moment in her life," says Shirley.  "She gave most of her clothing away to friends and individuals that she knew."

There's also a piece of fabric that was part of bunting for the President's booth at Ford's Theater.

You'll have to look closely at these small pieces of history, but Shirley hopes they will magnify for us important lessons.

"When you think about the wars that proceeded that, with World War One, World War Two, would we have been able to have fought those wars being a divided country," says Shirley.

Take a moment to appreciate a country that has been through a lot of hurt, but is all the more stronger.

This exhibit will run until the end of this month.  

Historians say ironically, the Lincoln and Booth families ran into each other before Lincoln's assassination; this time a Booth member helped save the life of a Lincoln.  Click the associated video to hear Shirley talk more about this incident.

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