February 3, 2009 - Harrogate, Tennessee — The Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum will host Dr. Liz Murphy Thomas, University of Illinois-Springfield assistant professor of digital media, for a talk and video presentation entitled Let Us Praise Famous Men: Abraham Lincoln. The event will take place on the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth at 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Thursday, February 12, and is part of a series of Lincoln Bicentennial events taking place at Lincoln Memorial University.

One of a series of videos, Let Us Praise Famous Men: Abraham Lincoln focuses on Lincoln’s representation in film and explores the iconic representation of our most famous president. The title is a re-appropriation of Walker Evans’ and James Agee’s 1930’s photography series entitled “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men” which detailed the lives of sharecroppers in the South. Just as Evans and Agee questioned the value of the common man during the Depression, the title in the context of these videos serves as a question on duality: who is the famous man? Is it the actor, or the historical man he portrays?

“The objective of this artwork will be to raise issues with the representation of historical figures in mainstream film and the mis-association many viewers have between entertainment and history,” Murphy Thomas said. “For many viewers, film is their only exposure to certain historical topics and even more so their only visual access to much of history.”

Murphy Thomas has been with the University of Illinois at Springfield since 2006. She also serves as the gallery director at the institution’s Visual Arts Gallery. She has put together solo exhibitions which have been shown throughout Illinois. She has also been a part of several Lincoln-themed group exhibitions.

The program compliments the museum’s current temporary exhibit entitled: Lincoln In Memory: The 16th President in Personal and Cultural Recollection. The exhibit examines how the image, words and character of Abraham Lincoln have become an integral part of mass marketing, propaganda and entertainment. The wide variety of Lincolniana includes silverware, medals, pins, bookends, candy boxes and glassware—all attempts to either honor Lincoln or make a dollar from his memory. The exhibit will also feature movie stills, movie posters, and television scripts that feature Lincoln as a central character.

The Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum is located on the historic campus of Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee. Housing one of the top five Lincoln and Civil War private collections in the world, the Museum is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more information about this and other programs at the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum, call 423-869-6235.

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