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Community Wide Celebrations

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Useful Tips for Promotion Your Community Celebration
  • Organize a special parade in honor of Lincoln’s 200th birthday or design a Lincoln Bicentennial float as part of a Fourth of July or other community celebration.
  • Hold a “Happy Birthday Mr. Lincoln!” street party or barbeque at a public site.
  • Ask your local officials or governor to issue a proclamation declaring the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth (see a sample proclamation).
  • Dedicate a public building such as a school, community center, performing arts center, library or town hall in Lincoln’s honor.  The same could apply to parks, trails, roads, or public gardens.
  • Work with your local post offices to coordinate a Lincoln Bicentennial stamp event.
  • Stage a public reading of some of Lincoln’s most famous speeches.
  • Encourage “Lincoln” named places to play an active role in commemorating and promoting the bicentennial
  • Plant a special Lincoln Tree on the grounds of the state capitol.
For the Arts
  • Commission a public art piece in honor of Lincoln’s 200th birthday
  • Suggest that local orchestras or bands perform Aaron Copeland’s Lincoln Portrait.
  • Lincoln had a love of theater, especially Shakespeare.  Encourage local theaters to perform some of his favorites.
  • Encourage local museums to create exhibitions related to Lincoln’s life and times
  • Create a Lincoln Speaker’s series
  • Contact your local public television station to request that Lincoln biographies and film be broadcast.
  • Place a portrait of Lincoln in the front lobby or other prominent location of public buildings such as schools, town halls, libraries, police or fire stations.
  • Hold an art exhibition or contest around the theme of “Freedom, Equality, and Opportunity.”
  • Contact state and local historical societies about the bicentennial.
For Children
  • Hold a poster contest for children with the theme “Happy 200th Birthday Mr. Lincoln!”
  • Partner with a local school to raise money to offer a college scholarship to a student who embodies the spirit of Lincoln’s rise from humble beginnings.
  • Invite local scout or youth groups to perform in Lincoln birthday celebrations
Ideas for Schools
  • Select a significant event in Abraham Lincoln’s life for each month of the school year.  Assign students to research the event; prepare PowerPoint presentations or bulletin board displays on it, and reenact it in a classroom assembly.
  • Research your community’s history during the Lincoln Era, especially during the Civil War.
  • Prepare a map showing the locations of counties and cities named for Abraham Lincoln.  Do the same for streets, schools, or businesses in your community.
  • Have students work in teams to prepare detailed proposals on appropriate legacy projects to observe the Lincoln bicentennial.
  • Compare Presidential elections in the mid-nineteenth century with today.
  • Have students work the math problems of Lincoln by using the sum books pages found in volume 1 of The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln.
  • Sponsor an amateur Abraham Lincoln look-alike contest.  For fun, this event can be done either within schools or as a stand-alone activity with a local community event.
  • Sponsor wreath laying events at Lincoln statues, Civil War veteran statues, and include re-enactors, school children, and music.
  • Sponsor flag plantings on veteran graves generally, but Civil War veteran grave sites in particular.  This activity would be especially appropriate around Memorial Day.
  • Hold a tree planting ceremony to honor Lincoln’s birthday at your school or a nearby community park.  Oaks are good symbols of the Union and the strength of Abraham Lincoln.
  • Read contemporary newspaper accounts or editorial cartoons about Lincoln and discuss how different groups perceived him differently.
  • Study the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, and talk about how it represents Lincoln's strengths.  Draw a new one based on what you've read about Lincoln.  (smaller kids might like this one too)
  • Read, compare, and contrast his first and second inaugural addresses.  Can you tell how his views of the War or the Union stayed the same or changed over time?
  • Have the class divide and take sides in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates.
  • Have the class divide and debate the decision-making process leading to secession and war.
  • Gather photographs, film clips, and reports of events at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, and prepare a slide show or poster.
  • Study Lincoln's sum book and compare it to how students learn today.
  • Write and perform a play about Lincoln's trip down the Mississippi River to New Orleans.
  • Gather as many images of Lincoln as you can find, from official portraits to advisements, and arrange them in a collage with a theme to put on display.
  • Create an exhibit of Lincoln stories, jokes, and quotations for your school hallway or local history museum or public library.
  • Encourage Lincoln pageants.
  • Hold an in-school competition of the reciting of the Gettysburg Address.
  • Recreate Lincoln cabinet meetings on particular cabinet decisions at assemblies.
  • Hold school debates on issues on confronting Lincoln during his life.
For Libraries
  • Sponsor the purchase of new Lincoln books for your public library.
  • Encourage local book clubs to choose a Lincoln biography during 2009.
  • Apply to receive the traveling exhibition, Forever Free:  Abraham Lincoln and Emancipation, sponsored by the American Library Association, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.
  • Lincoln’s life embodies a love for learning and books.  Consider holding a read-a-thon in his honor.
For Individuals
  • Plan to visit a Lincoln related site.
  • Read a Lincoln biography.
  • Watch the national televised celebration on February 12, 2009.
  • Volunteer to help your state with Lincoln Bicentennial events and programs.
  • Plan an Abraham Lincoln Birthday Party.