OSU Professor lends expertise to new Lincoln exhibit at Oregon History Museum


museum exhibit

Lincoln exhibit at the Oregon Historical Society. (photo: Andie Petkus Photography)

Stacey Smith, an assistant professor of history at Oregon State University, helped shape a new Lincoln-themed exhibit at the Oregon History Museum in Portland.

Smith volunteered as the project historian for “2 Years, 1 Month: Lincoln’s Legacy.” The exhibit, which is open now and runs through Oct. 6, focuses on the time period between Jan. 1, 1863, when Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, and Jan. 31, 1865, when Congress passed the 13th Amendment banning slavery.

Smith specializes in the history of the American West and the Civil War and Reconstruction. Her most recent book, “Freedom’s Frontier: California and the Struggle over Unfree Labor, Emancipation, and Reconstruction,” explores how California went through its own distinctive struggle during the period.

“It was my task to figure out thematically what we were going to say, built around two key moments that are also artifacts in the exhibit,” Smith said. “We wanted to show how people responded to and reacted to Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.”

The exhibit features different voices and newspaper headlines demonstrating those reactions, with an emphasis on the response in Oregon. Among the artifacts featured in the exhibit are letters between an Oregon cavalryman and his fiancé.

Smith compiled quotations, researched quotations and wrote large blocks of text in the exhibit. She also compiled a list of names Lincoln was called during the time period. The names are used in a large wall display.

For more information on the exhibit, visit http://www.ohs.org/exhibits/current/2-years-1-month-lincolns-legacy.cfm.

~ Michelle Klampe

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