This weekend at 2:00 pm, local historian and professor Gene Wright will be present at the Savanna Museum and Cultural Center, to tell the tragic story of the steamboat, The Sultana. The Sultan exploded and sank on April 27, 1865 carrying 2300 just-released Union prisoners of war, plus crew and civilian passengers. Some 1700 people died.
Gene Wright will also unveil his large scale model of The Sultana and provide a visual depiction of survivors and non survivors.
The museum will open at noon with the presentation at 2:00. A $5.00 donation will be appreciated. Hours for the Lincoln exhibit are Wednesdays through Fridays 5-8 pm, Saturdays and Sundays Noon-5. The Lincoln exhibit is co-sponsored by the Savanna Historical Society and the Savanna Public Library and is made possible from a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Constitution Center and the American Library Association.
New Traveling Exhibition at the Savanna Museum and ‘Cultural Center Tells the Story of
Abraham Lincoln’s Struggle to Meet the Constitutional Challenges of the Civil War.
“Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War,” a traveling exhibition opening at the Savanna Museum
and Cultural Center on Friday, June 14th, examines how President Lincoln used the Constitution to
confront three intertwined crises of the Civil War-the secession of Southern states, slavery and
wartime civil liberties. Lincoln is widely acknowledged as one of America’s greatest presidents, but his historical
reputation is contested. Was he a calculating politician willing to accommodate slavery, or a principled
leader justly celebrated as the Great Emancipator? This exhibition provides no easy answers. Rather, it
encourages visitors to form a nuanced view of Lincoln by engaging them with Lincoln’s struggle to
reconcile his policy preferences with basic American ideals of liberty and equality. This exhibition
develops a more complete understanding of Abraham Lincoln as president and the Civil War as the
nation’s gravest constitutional crisis. Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States in 1860, at a time when the nation
was on the brink of war. Lincoln struggled to resolve the basic questions that divided Americans at the
most perilous moment in the nation’s history: Was the United States truly one nation, or was it a
confederacy of sovereign and separate states? How could a country founded on the belief that “all men
are created equal” tolerate slavery? In a national crisis, would civil liberties be secure? President
Lincoln used the Constitution to confront these three crises of war, ultimately reinventing the
Constitution and the promise of American life. “We are delighted to have been selected as a site for this exhibition,” said Jean Ferris,
Savanna Historical Society Board member and Savanna Public Library Community
Programming Chair. “As a new president, Abraham Lincoln was faced with enormous challenges.
This exhibition shows how Lincoln struggled with issues of secession, slavery and civil liberties-all
questions our country’s founding charter left unanswered. Each section of the exhibit features
information about a different aspect of Lincoln’s presidency, For example, the section about slavery
examines the various policy options Lincoln once embraced and how his thoughts about slavery
evolved over time. Most importantly, the exhibit helps visitors understand why Lincoln’s struggle with
the Constitution still matters today.”The National Constitution Center and the American Library Association Public Programs Office
organized the traveling exhibition, which was made possible by a major grant from the National
Endowment for the Humanities (NEH): great ideas brought to life. The traveling exhibition is based on
an exhibition of the same name developed by the National Constitution Center.
The traveling exhibition is composed of informative panels featuring photographic reproductions of
original documents, including a draft of Lincoln’s first inaugural speech, the Emancipation
Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment.The Savanna Historical Society and the Savanna Public Library worked cooperatively to bring this
exhibition to Savanna. Details of free programs and other events for the public in connection with the
exhibition will be listed in local newspapers, flyers and at the museum. “Lincoln: The Constitution and
the Civil War” will be on display at the museum, 406 Main Street, until July 26th. Hours are Wed.-
Fri. 5-8 pm, Sat. – Sun. 12- 5pm. Admission is free .