Allison-Antrim exhibits recognize two February observances
For the month of February, the special rotating exhibit in the barn at Allison-Antrim Museum, 365 S. Ridge Ave., Greencastle, will recognize both Black History Month and Presidents’ Month through two exhibits developed by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. “From Slavery to Freedom” chronicles the life of Frederick Douglass in his own words. The second exhibit “Looking at Lincoln: Political Cartoons from the Civil War Era” views the Civil War through mid-19th century eyes.
Frederick Douglass was a runaway slave who later founded and edited the North Star, a newspaper, which was written for the masses and was dedicated to ending the institution of slavery. Douglass' experience as a slave made him a national figure for abolition. When John Brown requested a secret meeting with Douglass at an abandoned stone quarry outside of Chambersburg in August of 1859, Douglass realized that due to his relative fame the meeting would not go unnoticed. After he turned down Brown's offer to join him in his raid on Harpers Ferry, Douglass fled to Canada in fear that he would be implicated as an accomplice in an attempt that he believed would surely fail. Brown's Raid in October of 1859 confirmed Douglass' intuition. After the Civil War, President Rutherford B. Hayes appointed Douglass to the position of marshal of the District of Columbia (1877-1881). From 1881-1886, under three presidents, Douglass was the recorder of deeds for the District of Columbia. In June 1889, President Benjamin Harrison appointed Douglass the U.S. Minister to Haiti. His service in Haiti ended in July 1891. Douglass was later appointed the secretary of the commission to Santo Domingo, now the Dominican Republic. All these appointments were astonishing federal government positions for an African American man at the time. He gave his last speech on Feb. 1, 1895 in West Chester. Douglass died on Feb. 20, 1895.
Long before Douglass’ years of government service, he developed a valued friendship with President Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the United States. Lincoln was the defender of the preservation of the Union and signed the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, which freed slaves in the Confederate states. The Proclamation showed the nation and the world that the Union was for freedom of the people, ultimately leading to the ratification of 13th Amendment in December of 1865, declaring an end to the institution of slavery. When President Lincoln was assassinated in April of 1865, his friendship with Frederick Douglass was not forgotten. Mrs. Lincoln sent one of her husband's canes to Douglass, knowing he would appreciate such a thoughtful gift.
The exhibit, that runs through Feb. 27, will be complemented by several pieces from private Lincoln collections, Allison-Antrim Museum’s Timothy Anderson UGRR exhibit and a DVD produced by the Franklin County Visitors Bureau which tells the UGRR story of South Mountain.
Allison-Antrim Museum is open weekdays, Monday to Friday, from noon to 4 pm.
For more information, visit the museum’s website at www.greencastlemuseum.org, call the museum at 717-597-9010, or on Twitter @greemcastlemuzm
There is no charge for admission, but donations are accepted.