Past exhibition: 21st-Century Abe

From 02/12/2009 to 08/31/2009

Lincoln was born two hundred years ago. Happy birthday Abe! But why are we in the 21st century all still obsessed with this 19th-century man? We find Abe everywhere from advertising to political punditry. What does this popular Abe have to do with the historical Abe? 21st-Century Abe has six months to tackle these questions—starting Feb.12, 2009–and we need your answers.

Contribute to our ever-growing collection of videos, photos, and words revealing the relevance of Abe today. Explore thirty Lincoln documents from the Rosenbach Museum & Library that give glimpses into Lincoln’s thought processes, his views on race, his role as a celebrity, and even his humor. Join scholar Douglas Wilson, visual artist Maira Kalman, composer and rock musician Bryce Dessner, and media artists Archive (Anne Walsh and Chris Kubick) as they reflect on these documents and provide their own creative interpretations. But let’s not stop there! Your responses—in words, songs, videos, photos, drawings, web links, whatever — define 21st-Century Abe. Together we’ll find our Abe!


This project has been funded by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Heritage Philadelphia Program with additional support from the Marketing Innovation Program. Additional support has come from the Samuel S. Fels Fund and The Raab Collection.

21st-Century Abe was developed by Bill Adair, Judy Guston, Kathy Haas, and Nick Schonberger, with assistance from Laura Holzman. The site was designed and built by Night Kitchen Interactive. Special thanks to our interpretive team: Dr. Douglas Wilson, Bryce Dessner, Jen Childs, Maira Kalman, Chris Kubick, and Anne Walsh.