Smithsonian Shares Lincoln Portraits with Educators across the Nation through Portfolio Set and Online Resources

May 11, 2009
News Release
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The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and the National Portrait Gallery have partnered to share the scholarship and collections of the exhibition “One Life: The Mask of Lincoln” with thousands of educators across the country through an educational portfolio. Designed for middle-school and high-school students and their history and American studies’ teachers, the portfolios present 10 iconic portraits—each one a 13-by-19-inch mini-poster—incorporating interpretive text. The portraits show the changing face that President Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12, 1809-April 15, 1865) presented to the world as he began his presidency and led the fight to preserve the union during the Civil War.

Five thousand portfolio sets will be distributed for free to schools, libraries and museums in early May through the American Library Association, Federation of State Humanities Councils, Smithsonian Affiliations and the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies. The portfolio, as well as additional educational resources, is also available for free download on the SITES Web site at

Lincoln was the first President to serve after photography truly came of age. He embraced the new technology to craft his image and keep himself in the eye of his fellow citizens. The portfolio includes the “tousled hair” portrait taken in 1857 that was used in early campaign materials and a Mathew Brady photograph taken just before Lincoln’s groundbreaking 1860 speech at the Cooper Union. The latter image is known as the “photograph that made Lincoln president.”

“The Mask of Lincoln” portfolio was made possible by a grant from the Smithsonian Women’s Committee. The exhibition, “One Life: The Mask of Lincoln” is on view at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., through July 5. Visit online at

SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. Exhibition descriptions and tour schedules are available at

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