History’s Chief Historian and SVP for Corporate Outreach Dr Libby O’Connell is joking when she says, “Our outreach is now all Lincoln, all the time.” But not by much.
The National Lincoln Teach-In that she’s moderating tomorrow (Feb 12, Lincoln’s birthday) at the National Archives, and which can be seen online live at 1:30pm ET and archived, is really just the kickoff of History’s work during this Lincoln bicentennial year, not including numerous shows on the linear channel.
For example, History is partnering with National Park Foundation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation on an outreach campaign to raise money to benefit 6 Lincoln historical sites. And History has primed the pump by donating $120K cash itself. The goal is to raise, yes, you guessed it, $200K, for the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth. The partners have placed coin boxes around the country for that purpose along with posters. The campaign is called Give A Lincoln for Lincoln, with the idea being people will give pennies (with Lincoln’s head on them) for the cause.
In a related activity, History has a contest that asks for the most innovative coin box. Although I had a good if obvious idea—a coin box in the shape of Lincoln’s stove pipe hat—I’m told by O’Connell that the contest is open to kids only.
But there’s a great deal more, not to mention the numerous historical and teaching materials that seem to be abundant all the time at History’s history.com site. A big part of History and O’Connell’s outreach are History-made videos at museums across the country. The latest include one at the new Lincoln exhibit at the Smithsonian, which opened last month. There will also be a video from History in the museum at the newly renovated Ford’s Theater, which re-opens this evening (Feb 11), although the museum won’t re-open until April. History managed to get all the living Presidents to recite the Gettysburg Address. "They all did a very good job," she says.
In addition to the coin box contest, History is sponsoring a contest for students that asks them to make short, Lincoln-related videos. There’s also a contest for teachers to submit their most creative Lincoln-related lesson plans. The rules can be found at the Lincoln area of the history.com site.