The man in the tall black hat

Troy-Hayner remembers Lincoln this month

By Tim Walker

Photo: Seward Johnson’s “Return Visit” sculpture will be unveiled on May 3; photo: R. Glubischer

In May, the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center will feature a unique and fascinating exhibit entitled Remembering Lincoln. Filled with local connections, artwork and memorabilia, the exhibit is scheduled to coincide with the anniversary of one of the most pivotal events in this nation’s history.

April 15, 2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, fondly remembered as one of our country’s greatest presidents. Credited with ending slavery in America, leading our country through the Civil War and reuniting this great nation, Lincoln’s achievements have only grown more impressive with the passage of time. In numerous surveys of scholars and citizens conducted since the 1940s, Lincoln is consistently ranked among the top three presidents, and is considered by many to be the finest to ever hold the office.

To commemorate the anniversary of Lincoln’s death, the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center, in conjunction with Troy Main Street’s Sculptures on the Square project, will feature an exhibit of historic artifacts from May 3-31. The opening reception of the exhibit will also coincide with the unveiling of Seward Johnson’s sculpture Return Visit. The sculpture depicts President Lincoln with a modern man, and will be on display at the Miami County Courthouse in Troy for six months.

“We have a few local collectors who are contributing to the exhibit, as well as the Clark County Historical Society and the Heritage Center in Springfield, Ohio, who are lending us some of their artifacts and memorabilia,” Leona Sargent, exhibit coordinator for the Troy-Hayner Center says. “One of the items that we have coming is a rather large, to-scale copy of Abraham Lincoln’s home in Springfield, Illinois, where the funeral train ended up after Lincoln’s death, after traveling across the country from Washington D.C. The scale model includes wooden carvings, also done to-scale, of the delegation of 22 congressmen and other folks standing in front of the home. All of the figures were carved by Donald K. Mertz of Wilmington.”

Sargent continues, “Several Lloyd Ostendorf lithographs will also be on display. Mr. Ostendorf was a commercial artist and author from Dayton, Ohio, who lived from 1921-2000 and became known as the foremost artistic illustrator of every facet of Lincoln’s life, both political and private. These are really beautiful lithographs, and although they were done in the twentieth century they really bring Lincoln’s time period to life.

“We’ll also be featuring a letter – actually several links in a letter chain – between Abraham Lincoln and a local family that was concerned about the safety of their son, who was serving with the Union army in the Civil War,” she continues. “We got that from the Heritage Center in Clark County. The young man, who served as a bugler in the Army, wound up being captured and put in a Confederate prison, but he survived the war. The exhibit will also feature memorabilia from the time period, cups and other interesting items. We even have one of Lincoln’s campaign buttons from his first campaign – there’s no beard on the image, and this particular campaign button belonged, oddly enough, to Thomas Edison.”

An opening reception for the Remembering Lincoln exhibit will take place at the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center on Sunday, May 3 from 4-6 p.m. This event will take place on the same day as the Troy Main Street organization’s community party and unveiling of the 25-foot bronze sculpture, Return Visit, by Seward Johnson. Lincoln historian Gary Kersey will also give a special presentation about the preparations and pageantry that was the nation’s response to President Lincoln’s assassination that same week. Kersey’s presentation is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 7 at the Hayner Center. This program is free and open to the public.

When asked about other upcoming events at the Hayner Center, Sargent replied, “We’re very excited to be presenting the From Africa exhibit at the Center this summer. This exhibit will feature a study of African art and culture, experienced through the eyes of four local collectors. Artifacts will include wall hangings, masks, woodcarvings, batiks, paintings, jewelry, and earthenware. And that exhibit will run from June 12 through August 2, with an opening reception on Friday, June 12.”

With a variety of exhibits illuminating the connections between local history, national events and even international artwork, the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center is a local resource that deserves to be visited and enjoyed.

The Remembering Lincoln exhibit will be featured at the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center, 301 W. Main St. in Troy from May 3-31. The exhibit is free and open to the public, and all ages are welcome. For more information, please visit troyhayner.org.

Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Walker at TimWalker@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Tim Walker
Tim Walker is 51 and a writer, DJ, and local musician. He lives with his wife and their two children in Dayton, where he enjoys pizza, jazz, and black T-shirts. Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Walker at TimWalker@DaytonCityPaper.com

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