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April 26, 2011 saw the opening of the joint exhibition The Tsar and the President: Alexander II and Abraham Lincoln, Liberator and Emancipator at the Zubov Wing of the Catherine Palace, boasting items from the collections of Tsarskoye Selo, State Archive of the Russian Federation (Moscow), Library of Congress (Washington, D.C.), Chicago History Museum (Chicago), Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum at Lincoln Memorial University (Harrogate, Tennessee), American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation (the project’s organizers), and other American museums and private collectors.
A century and a half ago the leaders of two world powers, Alexander II and Abraham Lincoln, changed the course of history by issuing documents unprecedented in the nineteenth century. On February 19, 1861 the Emperor of Russia signed the Manifesto on the abolition of serfdom. On January 1, 1863 the American President issued the final Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves in territories held by Confederates.
These two individuals — their lives and political and social actions, as well as their personal relationship that served well as a solid foundation for Russian-American contacts — are the focus of our exhibition.
It is a unique opportunity for a wide audience to learn more not only about the Tsar’s and the President’s political and social efforts that marked them as reformers and liberators, but also about their personalities. The exhibition is structured in such a way that visitors can draw parallels and differences between these two great leaders, both of whom faced the necessity for radical social and administrative reforms in the middle of the nineteenth century.
The project “The Tsar and the President. Alexander II and Abraham Lincoln. Liberator and Emancipator” was realized to honor the 200th birth anniversary of the American President. In 2008-2009, the exhibition was successfully held at several venues across the U.S.A. The decision to bring it to Russia was connected to the 150th anniversary of serfdom abolition celebrated this year.
This exhibition is a result of combined efforts by archive and museum specialists and private collectors from the U.S.A. and Russia. We thank everyone who has contributed to the project. It is our belief that the story this exhibition tells will serve better understanding and trust between our two nations.
Open April 29 through July 31, 2011, 10.00-17.00 daily except Wednesdays and Thursdays.