The restored cyclorama and a copy of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address will be the focus of the official grand opening of the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center, Sept. 26-28. Background posts: Q&A on new Gettysburg visitor center, old Electric Map, Gettysburg National Battlefield produces steady supply of news, Part II Gettysburg Cyclorama, with new shape, ready for September opening.
The majority of York countians in the 1860s did not like Abe Lincoln’s politics.
That’s evidenced by their support of his opponents in 1860 and 1864.
And most did not like his famous speech… .
This Californian stopped by for the soft opening of the visitors center in April.
That’s evidenced by York’s largest newspaper’s republication of a Philadelphia newspaper account that provided this speech summary: “Mr. Lincoln made a joke or two … .” .
York countians won’t even get satisfaction from scholars about the often-repeated contention around here that Lincoln wrote his address while traveling via train through the county on his way to Gettysburg.
Gabor Boritt, of Gettysburg College, for example, believes part of the speech was written in Washington, D.C. and the other part at the Wills House in Gettysburg.
But those old sentiments will not stop York countians from visiting the new visitors center in Gettysburg to see a copy of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, to go on display there during the center’s grand opening.
And after circulating among many York County Civil War buffs since April, I’ve heard nothing but compliments about the new visitors center.
Not even a joke or two about the cost of shows there.
The following is a York Daily Record/Sunday News story (8/22/08) on the grand opening:
One copy of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is coming home this September.
When the Gettysburg National Military Park opens its doors for the park’s grand opening of the new museum and visitor center, on display will be one of five known manuscripts of Lincoln’s famous speech.
Known as the Everett copy, the text will be available for the public to view during the weekend of Sept. 26 to 28. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill., has agreed to loan the manuscript to the park.
Gettysburg officials unveiled plans for the grand opening on Wednesday.
Also that weekend, the public will get its first glance at the newly restored Cyclorama painting.
The 125-year-old painting has undergone a five-year conservation project to restore parts that have deteriorated over the years.
Preservationists also created a three-dimensional diorama, canopy and a sound-and-light program to accompany the painting.
The manuscript that will spend the weekend in Gettysburg was given by Lincoln to Edward Everett, the orator whose two-hour speech preceded his Gettysburg Address on Nov. 19, 1863.
It is the third of the five known manuscripts and the first to include the words “under God” in the final sentence that calls for a “new birth of freedom.”
Everett asked Lincoln for a copy to include in a volume he was assembling to mark the Nov. 19 dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery.
The volume, the entirety of which will be on display at the visitor center, also includes Everett’s speech, others given that day, maps of Gettysburg and accounts of the day.
The Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center opened on April 14, but the Cyclorama was not scheduled to be open for public viewing until the September grand opening.
A ribbon-cutting program will take place at 11 a.m. Sept. 26, at the visitor center.
Tickets are available for the “Party Like It’s 1863 Gala Celebration” from 7 p.m. to midnight on Sept. 27. They can be purchased at www.gettysburgfoundation.org and will also be available at the door.