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Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum reopens after completing first phase of renovations

Lincoln Memorial University helps run the museum in Harrogate.

HARROGATE, Tenn. — The first phase of reopening the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum is complete after officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday.

On Saturday, the museum will offer admission to celebrate. There will also be a full day of family programming, including educational activities inside the museum as well as an outdoor event in the Pioneer Village. The National Society Daughters of the Union Lincoln Learning Lab will also be open for the first time.

It will be a place for children to learn more about the past by playing around with several exhibits. There will also be demonstrations about the connections between science and the Civil War in Pioneer Village. Reenactors will also demonstrate how apple butter was made in the past.

Lincoln himself, portrayed by Dennis Boggs, will also talk with visitors about his childhood and time as President of the U.S.

The renovations and expansion of the museum cost $7 million and it was closed to the public since 2019 as work was completed. Now, there are first-floor galleries as well as updated exhibits.

Two new exhibits will also have community connections, according to a release from officials. The Story of LMU gallery will show why there is a university dedicated to Lincoln in East Tennessee. The rose Gallery will also show a collection of Civil War weaponry and medical equipment, collected by a surgeon who served the Claiborne County Medical Center for 45 years.

"We've got a new exhibit of Confederate weapons and firearms and medical instruments that were all owned from a private collection, and then in phase two we will be opening a new exhibit gallery upstairs on the ways Lincoln has been remembered," said one official with the museum.

The second phase of the project focuses on second-floor galleries dedicated to Lincoln's depiction in art and media, as well as a new exhibit about the Civil War. It is stated to reopen in early 2022, around Lincoln's birthday.

The museum is located at 120 Mars-Debusk Parkway in Harrogate.