n commemoration of its 150th Anniversary, Tompkins County Public Library will host “Lincoln: the Constitution and the Civil War,” a weekend-long exploration of Abraham Lincoln’s struggle to meet the constitutional challenges of the Civil War, September 26 through 28.

The weekend’s festivities begin September 26 with after-hours access to the nationally-traveling exhibit which inspired the Library’s celebration.

On display in the Avenue of the Friends through October 31, “Lincoln: the Constitution and the Civil War” is a 1,000 square foot, thematic exhibit which offers an intriguing perspective on the challenges America’s much-heralded 16th president faced during the Civil War. This timely exhibit describes Lincoln’s use of the Constitution as a guide for tackling the major issues of the war—secession of Southern states, slavery and wartime civil liberties.

Events being held in conjunction with the exhibit are:

Friday, September 26

5 to 7 p.m.: An evening of art featuring self-guided tours of “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War” and its three companion exhibits, “Montage Histories: Tompkins County, New York, through Photographs 1864-2014,” “Tompkins County in a Time of War: Life on the Home Front and on the Battlefield” and “Mightier than the Sword : The Impact of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”

“Montage Histories” is a photographic exhibit created by Tompkins Cortland Community College Professor Harry Littell and students from his senior digital photography class. Exhibit text was written by Cornell University Ph.D. candidates Bret Leraul and Christine “Xine” Yao with support from TCPL, the New York State Council for the Humanities, Cornell University and The History in Tompkins County.

“Tompkins County in a Time of War,” curated by Julee Johnson and Sally Grubb includes artifacts reflecting life at home and on the Civil War battlefields. Items featured in the exhibit are on-loan from Auburn’s Seward House Museum and The History Center in Tompkins County.

The third companion exhibit, “Mightier than the Sword: The Impact of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin” celebrates the lasting impact of Stowe’s iconic and often-challenged book, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” and is being displayed in recognition of Banned Books Week.

5:30 p.m.: Cornell University’s Glee Club and Women’s Chorus, under the direction of Robert Isaacs, will perform Toby Twining’s “Lincoln the Musician,” in the Library’s Avenue of the Friends.

7:00 p.m.: Cinemapolis will present “Civil Warriors,” an original film by Deborah Hoard, president of Ithaca’s award-winning PhotoSynthesis Productions.

“Civil Warriors” is a docudrama about the first African American regiment to fight in the Civil War and the Ithaca men who helped lead the charge.

A panel discussion facilitated by Eric Acree, director of Cornell University’s Africana Library, featuring Hoard, co-producer/director Che Broadnax, Film Narrator Sean Eversley Bradwell, assistant professor, Center for the Study of Culture, Race and Ethnicity at Ithaca College, will be held immediately following the screening.

Saturday, September 27

11 a.m. to 2p.m.: A representative of TCPL’s Teen Advisory Group, portraying Abraham Lincoln, will serve as a docent providing mini tours of “Lincoln: the Constitution and the Civil War.”

Sunday, September 28

2 p.m.: Elmira College Professor Charlie Mitchell will present “Re-reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin after “Django Unchained” and “Twelve Years a Slave,” an illustrated lecture. This program will be held in the Library’s BorgWarner Community Room.

Additional programs in conjunction with “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War” are planned for October.
All library events and exhibits are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Sally Grubb at (607) 272-4557 extension 232 or sgrubb@tcpl.org.

“Lincoln: the Constitution and the Civil War,” a traveling exhibition for libraries, was organized by the National Constitution Center and the American Library Association Public Programs Office. The traveling exhibition has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. “Lincoln: the Constitution and the Civil War” is based on an exhibition of the same name developed by the National Constitution Center.

“Montage Histories: Tompkins County, New York, through Photographs 1864-2014” was made possible with funding from the New York Council for the Humanities, Tompkins County Tourism Board, The Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County, Tompkins Cortland Community College Photography Program, and the Tompkins County Public Library Foundation.

“Tompkins County in a Time of War” is made possible with the support of the Seward House Museum of Auburn and The History Center in Tompkins County with partial funding from the Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County.

“Mightier than the Sword: The Impact of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin” was made possible with the support of the Seward House Museum and the Friends of Tompkins County Public Library.

The Screening of “Civil Warriors” is made possible through grant support from the New York Council for the Humanities and the generosity of Cinemapolis and PhotoSynthesis Productions.

Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.