Apr 8, 2009

Media Contact:
Jonathan Thompson, senior manager of media relations



Newseum adds rare Lincoln assassination artifacts
to "Manhunt" exhibit for limited display
Author James L. Swanson to speak at the Newseum on assassination anniversary

WHAT: Three rare artifacts will go on display in the Newseum’s "Manhunt: Chasing Lincoln’s Killer" exhibit beginning Saturday, April 11. Two of these items — a fragment from the dress worn by "Our American Cousin" lead actress Laura Keene and stained with Lincoln’s blood, and a lock of Lincoln’s hair framed with flowers from his coffin — will be on display at the Newseum only through Sunday, April 26. These items are on loan from the private collection of James L. Swanson, "Manhunt" author and Lincoln scholar.

Tuesday, April 14, Swanson will present a dramatic retelling of the events from the night of the assassination, April 14, 1865. Tickets for this program are available at newseum.org

WHO: James L. Swanson, "Manhunt" author and Lincoln scholar

WHEN: Lincoln artifacts go on public display beginning Saturday, April 11.

James L. Swanson presents  "O Moody, Tearful Night!: The Lincoln Assassination in Memory and Myth" on the 144th anniversary of the assassination, Tuesday, April 14. Federal City Brass Band, which recreates the sound and appearance of a Civil War-era Union Army band , will perform at 6:30 p.m. The lecture will begin at 7 p.m.

WHERE: Newseum
555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C.

BACKGROUND: Two priceless Lincoln artifacts — a fragment from the dress worn by "Our American Cousin" lead actress Laura Keene and stained with Lincoln’s blood, and a lock of Lincoln’s hair framed with flowers from his coffin — will join the Newseum’s "Manhunt" exhibit for a limited time beginning April 11, the 144th anniversary of the assassination of President Lincoln. These artifacts will be on display only through Sunday, April 26.

A rare bronze set of Lincoln life mask and hands — created by noted sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens in the 1880s directly from the 1860 plaster life mask and hands by Leonard Volk — also will join "Manhunt" beginning April 11. These items will remain on display until the exhibit closes at the end of Feb. 2010.

The Newseum’s "Manhunt" exhibit was created in collaboration with James L. Swanson, Edgar Award-winning author of the New York Times best-seller "Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer." It features 40 artifacts and documents from Swanson’s personal collection, many of which are being displayed publicly for the first time. Artifacts on display include an original Ford’s Theatre playbill for "Our American Cousin," the play Lincoln was attending the night John Wilkes Booth shot him; an original poster advertising a $100,000 reward for the capture of the assassins; rare newspaper extra editions reporting the assassination; and mourning memorabilia that marked the nation’s sense of loss.

NOTE TO EDITORS: James L. Swanson will be available for media interviews regarding the artifacts being added to the Newseum "Manhunt" gallery and the April 14 evening program. Media interested in interviewing Swanson or attending the April 14 assassination program, are asked to contact Jonathan Thompson at jothompson@newseum.org or 202/292-6353.

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