Linked destinies: Hidene offers Lincoln, King exhibits

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MANCHESTER — Within a span of 23 days this year, Americans will celebrate the birthdays of two American heroes, honoring civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. on Jan. 21, and President Abraham Lincoln on Feb. 12. One of the nation's most important Lincoln sites, Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home, offers visitors two insightful exhibits, "The American Ideal: Abraham Lincoln and the Second Inaugural" and "Many Voices."

Both of these exhibits cast a light on the values these men shared. While born more than a century apart, there is no doubt that both were committed to the words of the Declaration of Independence, "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."

"The American Ideal" focuses on what is considered to be one of the greatest presidential speeches. In addition to President Lincoln's words, among the many artifacts visitors will encounter, is one of his iconic stove pipe hats left in existence and one of his personal Bibles.

"Many Voices," located at the meticulously restored 1903 Pullman car, Sunbeam, features a timeline that begins in 1863 with President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and ends with the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where Reverend King delivered his "I Have A Dream" speech. The exhibit focuses on the many voices of those involved with cars like Sunbeam: the Pullman Company, its wealthy passengers, the black Pullman porters, and the voices of Hildene guests who may be encountering, for the first time, the provocative piece of history this exhibit reveals.

While "Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address" and Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream Speech" are separated by nearly 100 years, both mark important eras in our nation's history, both are compelling, and each has had a dramatic impact on the social conscience of the nation.

Hildene guests are invited to visit presidential son Robert Lincoln's home and exhibit; the restored 1903 Pullman car, Sunbeam and exhibit; the goat dairy and cheese-making facility; Dene Farm; The Museum Store, and the Welcome Center, where the guest experience begins.

Hildene is open year round from 9:30 to 4:30. Admission is $23 for adults and $6 for children 6-16. Members, volunteers and children under 6 are free. Guided tours are offered daily at 1:00 with an advance reservation for an additional $7.50 per person.

Whether for the first time or for a return visit, The Lincoln Family Home at Hildene is a fun filled winter destination. Based on weather and trail conditions guests can x-country ski or snowshoe to each venue and access approximately 12 miles of ungroomed trails on natural snow. Ski and snowshoe rentals are available for a fee and for use on site only. To learn more, visit www.hildene.org, Facebook, email info@hildene.org, or call 802-362-1788.

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