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Tracing Abraham Lincoln’s Springfield, IL, footsteps- Part 4


By Gerri Nielsen

Fri, Aug 17th, 2012
Posted in Harmony Features

This story is the fourth in a five-part series about Gerri Nielsen’s trip to Springfield, Illinois.

THURSDAY: Dr. Cornelius amazed us again this morning with his presentation “Mary Lincoln--Well, Not Really.” He showed us a portrait painted in 1864 by F. Carpenter. It shows a plain-faced woman dressed in black wearing a cross necklace, gaudy jewelry on her wrists and fingers, and a floral headdress in her hair. But the painting didn’t always appear that way.

The Museum invites pro bono restorers to clean and restore documents and artifacts. When an accomplished restorer looked closely at this painting, he noticed there were some embellishments on top of the varnish on the painting. A big black hair bow had replaced the flowers, the jewelry had been toned down, and a locket featuring Lincoln’s silhouette had replaced the cross. The biggest change was the face--Mary Lincoln’s face had replaced the plain visage.

The restorer and museum historians discovered that a man named Lou Bloom--a man of all trades and an amateur painter--had sold this fake painting of Mary Lincoln to Bob Beckweith, a grandson of Robert Lincoln, for two or three thousand dollars. In 2010, the painting was stripped of the varnish and embellishments and restored to its original appearance. Now the museum staff is working to figure out who this mysterious lady is. Inspecting newly donated artifacts and discovering fakes is an interesting part of an ALPLM staff member’s job.

The Museum hires preservationists and conservationists to work with all its artifacts. Bonnie Parr is a conservator for the ALPLM. She demonstrated how she cleans 200-year-old documents, how she repairs tears in old maps, how she encapsulates paper documents in plastic film to protect them, and how she creates the perfect box or display equipment for books and artifacts in the Museum. She explained there are four rules for preserving the precious keepsakes: clean, cool, dry, and dark. All the materials and artifacts in the Library are stored in a dark environment that is kept at about 65 degrees with humidity at 43 percent.

Mark DePue, Director of the ALPLM Oral History department stressed the importance of interviewing eyewitnesses to history. He showed us examples of some amazing interviews with W.W.II veterans and one of Illinois’s first female basketball players able to play thanks to Title IX. DePue said we can preserve histor .....
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45

State Line Rural Methodist Church finds a new home

By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, Aug 17th, 2012
Posted in Harmony Features

Each year, buildings that once defined our communities are either demolished or left to fall into utter disrepair. The sagging economy doesn’t often have a place for these old buildings and those left to care for them often have no choice. Luckily ..... 
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Tracing Abe Lincoln’s Springfield, IL, footsteps, Part 3

By Gerri Nielsen

Fri, Aug 10th, 2012
Posted in Harmony Features

WEDNESDAY: Today included a field trip to the New Salem open-air history museum and state park with our own personal guide, Charles Starling, a retired Illinois Historical Preservation Agency Site interpreter. Charlie gave us all the facts we could ..... 
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Harmony Enterprises, Inc. celebrating 50 years

Fri, Aug 3rd, 2012
Posted in Harmony Features

For the past 50 years, the small town of Harmony has been home to a large worldwide business, and many people aren’t even aware of what goes on there. Harmony Enterprises, Inc., known to the local residents as HECO, offers more to the world than c ..... 
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Tracing Abe Lincoln’s Springfield, IL, footsteps

By Gerri Nielsen

Fri, Jul 27th, 2012
Posted in Harmony Features

Remember the saying, “Be nice to nerds--someday you’ll be working for one”? Our 16th President was a nerd--a 6’-4,” book-readin’, rail-splittin’, 6-inches-too-short-trousers-wearin’ doofus. He also was somewhat of a loser--he lost j ..... 
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Fundraiser for Jem Theatre a huge success

Mon, Feb 27th, 2012
Posted in Harmony Features

Saturday, February 11, hundreds of people gathered at Wheelers in Harmony to help raise money to keep Fillmore County’s only theatre in business. The support from the community was huge, and the event raised $15,773.50. Lynn Mensink, one of the ..... 
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