Two new items have been added to the ongoing Instruments of American Excellence exhibit at the Kentucky Museum, including an item from former President Abraham Lincoln.
A handwritten note from Lincoln and other effects, along with a Man o’ War race horse saddle from the 1920s, joined the exhibit over the summer.
The exhibit highlights items from famous people in history.
The note written by Lincoln is to a soldier in the Civil War, pardoning him from the war as a result of the Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction in 1863.
Timothy Mullin, head of the Department of Library Special Collections, said this was one way Lincoln wanted to end the war.
“Any southern soldier who took allegiance to the union, they were free from war,” Mullin said. “We have a number of signatures by Lincoln. But this is a note written by hand.”
After Lincoln’s assassination, many people printed his likeness on silk ribbons, called mourning ribbons.
“Many people would print these at home, and then wear them in respect to Lincoln,” Mullin said.
One of these ribbons accompanies the hand-written note in a case that details the history of Lincoln and the items. An anonymous donor contributed the items.
The other new addition to the museum is a Man o’ War saddle from the 1920s.
“It’s so tiny,” Mullin said. “It looks like a toy.”
By the end of 1920, the race horse Man o’ War had 16 major wins, and two awards. He was inducted into the U.S. Racing Hall of Fame in 1957 and was ranked number one racehorse of the 20th century in the 1999 Blood-Horse magazine.
Accompanying the saddle are numerous pictures of the horse and his owner, Samuel D. Riddle, as well as a Man o’ War trophy that was presented to a descendant of the famous racing horse in the Saratoga Race Course.
The items were loaned to the Kentucky Museum by a Man o’ War collector, Ken Grayson.