Mercury One, the charity founded by TheBlaze founder Glenn Beck, has announced a program to save the artifacts of the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum for public viewing. The program is called "5 for Lincoln," and anyone who is interested in donating can do so at 54lincoln.org.
What's the story?
As TheBlaze reported Monday, the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is several million dollars short of being able to pay a debt that will come due next year on a loan that was used to secure the historical artifacts in their possession.
If the museum is unable to raise over $9 million in the next year, some or all of the artifacts will have to be auctioned off to private collectors, who may lock them in a vault, away from public view.
Beck is asking his listeners and fans to help prevent that from happening by donating any amount of money that ends in 5 — be it $5, $45, or $105.
Beck explained the reason for his passion about saving these artifacts for the museum, which is run by a private foundation: "They’ve already paid over $10 million, but if they can’t make the money, it’s going to go to auction. It will be split up most likely, which should never happen, and it probably will go into private hands. And here’s what’s bothersome to me. Most people don’t know those exist, because they were never shown or seen in public since his death. They went from person to person to person, all in private sales, for their whole life."
What all is in the collection?
At a pop-up museum hosted at Mercury Studios over the Father's Day weekend, guests were able to see some Lincoln artifacts, which included the Gettysburg Address written in Lincoln's own hand.
Other items in the collection included a top hat frequently worn by Lincoln, a wanted poster printed after Lincoln's assassination, blood-stained gloves that were in Lincoln's pocket on the night of his assassination, and more. However, many of the artifacts, including the hat and gloves, are in such fragile condition that moving them even for display places the structural integrity of the artifacts at risk.
As Beck explained, "They wanted to bring the hat and gloves down here, but they’re paper thin. And they’re just so fragile, because they’ve not been in the hands of a real curator until now. And they just don’t even want to move them, because they’ll just disintegrate."
The fragile state of the artifacts, and the failure of previous private collectors to care for them properly, is one of the things that concerns Beck about what might happen to the collection if it is auctioned to private collectors. After all, as Beck said, "Once they're gone, they're gone."
Mercury One is a 501(c)(3) charity, which means all donations to this cause are tax deductible. Anyone who is interested in the collection is also encouraged to visit the museum in Springfield, Illinois.