Current Exhibits

New exhibition, now open! The Abraham Lincoln Foundation, in partnership with the Philadelphia History Museum, opens, Sweep the Country: Political Conventions in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia, PA

The Abraham Lincoln Foundation of The Union League of Philadelphia (“the ALF”) opens its latest exhibition, Sweep the Country: Political Conventions in Philadelphia.  Presented in partnership with the Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent, the exhibition covers the 11 political conventions held in Philadelphia between 1848 and 2000.  Objects, images and stories from the 12th Convention, the Democratic National Convention (July 27 – 31, 2016) will be added to the exhibition in September.  The exhibit will run until early 2017.

Sweep the Country: Political Conventions in Philadelphia is rich in historic objects, and includes items from the Union League and Philadelphia History Museum collections, as well as private and institutional collections from the Philadelphia region.  The objects and images tell the stories of the conventions, and the important, and often contentious issues and platforms relevant to each convention.  The exhibition places the conventions in their historical, cultural and material context over the three centuries in which they were held. Issues such as slavery, immigration, civil rights and the role of business and government were debated – and these debates subsequently impacted and shaped our nation and world.

While the issues were serious, the conventions were and are often more about celebrations, and fun and festive parties.  From the Philadelphia History Museum collection, which loaned a total of 35 items, there is a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner with pasta shaped like stars and elephants, the symbol of the Republican Party.  From the Union League collection, there are two presidential campaign handkerchiefs, 1856 Fremont and Dayton and 1900 McKinley and Roosevelt; these handkerchiefs were the bumper stickers of their day.

The exhibit also includes a new series of videos with leading scholars (Allen Guelzo, Gettysburg College, Randall Miller, St. Joseph’s University, Terry Madonna, Franklin and Marshall College) discussing the political context of these conventions and their impact on our nation.

The exhibition is open to Union League members, seven days a week, from 9:00am to 6:00pm; open to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:00pm to 6:00pm and the second Saturday of every month from 1:00pm to 4:00pm.

The exhibit is presented by The Abraham Lincoln Foundation of The Union League of Philadelphia, in partnership with the Philadelphia History Museum.

About The Abraham Lincoln Foundation of The Union League of Philadelphia

The Abraham Lincoln Foundation of The Union League of Philadelphia (“the ALF”) was established in 1996 to enhance, maintain and exhibit the historic collections of archives, manuscripts, library material, objects and art of The Union League of Philadelphia, and to use the League’s collections to conduct educational programs for League members, scholars, students and the general community. The ALF is a 501(c)3 charitable organization, and is a separate legal entity from the Union League itself.

In 2011, the ALF completed construction of The Sir John Templeton Heritage Center (“the Heritage Center”). The Heritage Center is an 8,500 square-foot research, program and exhibit space on the ground floor of the Union League. This space allows direct access to the Heritage Center from Broad Street. It encompasses an exhibit room, programming space, office space, a research area and a state-of-the-art collections storage vault. The ALF shares the office space within the Heritage Center with the League’s other two charities – the Youth Work and Scholarship Foundations.

The ALF presents exhibits, lectures, and other educational programs that focus on the history and heritage of the Union League and the Civil War. These programs reach thousands of students and scholars each year. Most of these programs are provided without charge. For more information on the ALF, or the Union League, visit www.ulheritagecenter.org.

About Philadelphia History Museum

Reopened to the public in September 2012 with the completion of a total interior renovation, the Philadelphia History Museum unveiled redesigned galleries to showcase its outstanding collection of historical objects, art, and artifacts. The Museum provides historical context for issues of contemporary urban life using its premier collection of over 100,000 objects, paintings, and photographs in exhibitions, programs, and interactive media. The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.philadelphiahistory.org.