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Last chance to see 13th Amendment

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13th Amendment: Back to the Vault

This is perhaps your last chance to see two of our nation's most important documents together. The Indiana State Museum is scheduled to remove the rare signed copy of the 13th Amendment from its With Charity for All: The Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection exhibition at the beginning of March and return it to the vault for safe keeping and a rest from harmful light and atmospheric conditions. This document, which formally abolished slavery in the United States, was passed by Congress on Jan. 31, 1865--just months before Lincoln's assassination--and then ratified by the states on Dec. 6, 1865. The signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation will remain in the exhibition until further notice.

With Charity for All: The Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection, the museum's own exhibition, tells the story of Lincoln, the man. Since his birth on a farm in the Kentucky wilderness some 200 years ago, Lincoln lore has transformed him into an almost mythological figure. Artifacts in the collection help paint a picture of an ordinary man who rose to become, perhaps, the greatest leader in American history. This exhibition is open until July 25, 2010.

At the same time, the Library of Congress exhibition, at the museum until April 11, 2010, features the Bible upon which Lincoln and, most recently, President Obama took the oath of office; the contents of Lincoln's pockets the night he was assassinated; some of Mary Todd Lincoln's jewelry, as well as letters, photographs, maps, sketches, political cartoons, period engravings, speeches and artifacts from Lincoln's political career and presidency.

There is no additional charge beyond museum admission to view these exhibitions, but advance timed-tickets are required, which are available by phone at 317.232.1637.

It is important to note that the museum will continue to be closed on Mondays, but will have extended hours on Thursdays and Fridays through April, with reservations through 8 p.m. (The museum will be open Easter Monday, April 5.)

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