Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War

The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office is pleased to announce its collaboration with the National Constitution Center (NCC) in Philadelphia on a new traveling exhibit, “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War.” One copy of the exhibition will travel to public, academic and special libraries from mid-2009 through 2011. The traveling exhibition and tour are funded by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to the National Constitution Center.

Using the Constitution as the cohesive thread, “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War” offers a fresh and innovative perspective on Lincoln that focuses on his struggle to meet the political and constitutional challenges of the Civil War. Organized thematically, the exhibition explores how Lincoln used the Constitution to confront three intertwined crises of the war—the secession of Southern states, slavery, and wartime civil liberties. Visitors will leave the exhibition with a more complete understanding of Abraham Lincoln as president and the Civil War as the nation’s gravest constitutional crisis.

Librarians applying to host “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War” in their public, academic or special library must register their institution at Prospective applicants are advised to register with as soon as possible, as the process can take up to two weeks to complete. The application and guidelines for “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War” and complete instructions for registering and applying through may be found at Online applications must be completed through by January 30, 2009. Applications may not be submitted through ALA.

Successful applicants will host the 1,000 square foot exhibit for six weeks and receive a $2,500 grant from NEH for attendance at an exhibit planning workshop and other exhibit-related expenses. Participating libraries are expected to present at least two free public programs featuring a lecture or discussion by a qualified scholar on exhibition themes. All showings of the exhibition must be free and open to the public.

The National Constitution Center is one of the nation’s most exciting new museums and a leading provider of constitutionally themed education programs. Created through the Constitution Heritage Act of 1988, the NCC addresses the need to better educate Americans about their Constitution and citizenship rights and responsibilities. Its mission is to increase public understanding of, and appreciation for, the Constitution, its history, and it contemporary relevance through an interactive museum facility and national outreach programs.