Giant Abraham Lincoln sculpture set for display in Peoria

PEORIA, Ill. - A museum in Peoria is preparing to install a 31-foot-tall, 19-ton painted bronze sculpture of Abraham Lincoln standing with a modern-day man holding the Gettysburg Address.

The sculpture, named "Return Visit," has been on display in Chicago for the past year next to Tribune Tower. Peoria Riverfront Museum officials secured its next stop just as the state's bicentennial celebrations begin, the (Peoria) Journal Star reported .

The installation is expected Tuesday, after the sculpture is transported down on specially outfitted, extra-long flatbed trucks.

"Given that Lincoln gave one of his most important speeches here in Peoria, it's a good thing to celebrate him," said John Morris, the museum's president and CEO. "There are a lot of lessons about Lincoln that are still fresh and relevant today."

Museum officials have been working to line up local groups and volunteer services to transport the sculpture, engineer and construct the 6-foot-deep concrete base the piece will stand upon, and operate a crane to hoist it into place. More than a dozen sponsors have helped fund the project.

The sculpture's display is also intended as a salute to Peoria public art advocates Harriet Swager and her late husband, architect Gene Swager.

"Everybody seems to be coming together to make this happen for Peoria," Morris said.

The sculpture's presence will also help anchor an exhibit at the museum launching on the state's 200th birthday in February. The exhibit will feature displays on 200 Illinois citizens.

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Information from: Journal Star, http://pjstar.com


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