INSIDER’S GUIDE 2021 LMU’s Historical Library and Museum offers a glimpse into Lincoln’s life – Claiborne Progress


A hole between two mountains called the Cumberland Gap was once the gateway to history, and in a small town called Harrogate much of the history is on display. Located on the Lincoln Memorial University campus and just to the right of the main campus entrance, there is a building that houses the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum.

The museum was organized by General OO Howard at the behest of Abraham Lincoln himself, and its history dates back to the late 1890s. The community was considered loyal to Lincoln and the Union despite being by definition a southern state. The loyalty shown by these people is one of the main reasons for the existence of the museum and the Lincoln memorabilia collection.

In the late 1970s, a large donation from Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Colonel Harland Sanders moved the historic artifacts to their current location in a 21,000 square foot building. The museum now contains more Lincoln and Civil War history than almost anywhere in the south.

Along with many Lincoln artifacts, the museum contains Civil War artifacts including the largest collection of sheet music, 2,500 Civil War pamphlets, Civil War weapons, and more. There are two chests containing everything from a lock of Lincoln hair to the actual signatures of every US President and Barack Obama.

Spending time in the museum will allow you to visualize a time when a young man became a president who had a huge impact not only on the United States, but on the entire world.

The museum is constantly evolving with rotating exhibits, but lately new contributions have made the museum even more interesting. The donation from the family of Dr. Robert L. Kincaid has enabled the renovation of the gallery and will help support additions to the museum.


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