The life, legacy and cultural perception of Abraham Lincoln will be explored during a special symposium on Sept. 10 at Tusculum College.
The symposium, “Lincoln’s Living Legacy: 200 Years of Interpretation” will explore the 16th president as a vital American icon. The symposium, sponsored by the Museums of Tusculum College in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, will be held from 9 a.m. to noon in the Niswonger Commons on the college’s campus.
Four experts will discuss Lincoln as we have come know him through stories, literature, museum exhibitions and educational programs.
Dr. William Forstchen, faculty fellow and professor of history at Montreat College, will focus on “Carl Sandburg and Lincoln: A Living Relationship.” Dr. Forstchen is a noted author of more than 40 books. He has written or co-written a number of novels focusing on the Civil War period, including three novels with former Congressman Newt Gingrich. He has also authored three World War II-period novels with Gingrich.
Among his other works are the award-winning “We Look Like Men of War,” a young adult novel about an African-American regiment that fought at the Battle of the Crater in the Civil War; the “Lost Regiment” series that has been optioned by both Tom Cruise and Paramount Studies, and his latest, the apocalyptic thriller, “One Second After,” published earlier this year.
In addition to his writing, Dr. Forstchen hosts a weekly radio program about history, has led archeological and anthropological research trips to Mongolia and continues research into World War II, particularly aviation.
Thomas Mackie, director of the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum at Lincoln Memorial University, will discuss “Keeping Lincoln Alive.” Mackie began his museum career as a registrar and tour guide at a museum in Michigan and moved on to head to Virginia’s Amherst County Historical Museum for six years, during which time the museum tripled in size. He then took over the Ontario County Historical Society in New York and prior to coming to East Tennessee, he directed educational efforts at Historic Roscoe Village in Ohio.
A skilled modeler, Mackie has also served an archival manager and exhibits fabricator. He has undertaken several research projects dealing with historic architecture and material culture. Mackie also has several years of classroom teaching experience.
“The Lincoln and Seward Legacy” will be explored by Peter Wisbey, director of the William Seward House in Auburn, N.Y. Wisbey has been the executive director of the Seward House since October 2000. Prior to that he was curator of collections at the Genesee Country Village & Museum in Mumford, N.Y. He has also held curatorial positions at the Worcester Historical Museum, in Massachusetts and the Monmouth County Historical Association in New Jersey.
Professionally, Wisbey is New York State representative for the American Association for State and Local History, a national museum support organization. He is a graduate of St. Lawrence University. He holds a master’s degree in history museum studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program-SUNY Oneonta and a second master’s degree in early American culture from the Winterthur Program of the University of Delaware.
Chris Small of The Lincoln Project will moderate a panel discussion of the experts following the individual presentations. Small is well known in the region for his first-person portrayals of the 16th president. The Lincoln Project recently released two films, “Abraham Lincoln’s Faith” and “Lincoln and Emancipation” that were both filmed in Greeneville.
Early in the afternoon, symposium attendees will have the opportunity to take a special guided tour of the National Historic District of Tusculum College. The college is the oldest in Tennessee and the 23rd oldest in the country. Ten structures on campus dating between circa 1830 and 1930 are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Attendees may also want to visit the President Andrew Johnson Museum and Library on campus. The museum, located in the oldest academic building on campus, houses a collection of books, papers and memorabilia of the 17th president of the United States. It also houses the Charles Coffin Collection from the original college library and the College archives containing documents related to the history of Tusculum.
The symposium has been made possible through the support of the Arts Outreach of Tusculum College, the Lincoln Project, and the Museums of Tusculum College.
The registration fee for the symposium is $10. The registration deadline is August 28. A registration form is available online at the Museums’ Web page.