ALPLM receives grant from Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust


SPRINGFIELD – Plans to keep the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum at the forefront of American museums are getting a $100,000 boost from the prestigious Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust.

The Chicago-based organization is providing the money to help the ALPLM develop an interpretive plan that will shape museum exhibits and plans for decades to come. The goal is to make the library and museum more relevant to a broader array of visitors.

“We are honored that the Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust appreciates what we do and wants the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum to remain a vibrant leader in the field,” said Executive Director Christina Shutt. “This grant will go a long way toward ensuring our future is as exciting as our past.”

The ALPLM intends to create an interpretive plan setting out the best ways to present Lincoln so that visitors see how his legacy remains relevant today. As the grant application put it, “good interpretation helps visitors gain knowledge and meaningful connections with the past to see how it could apply to their communities.”

Doing that will require getting detailed information from visitors and potential visitors. The Elizabeth Morse Genius grant will pay for a museum expert to help the ALPLM conduct focus groups, hold workshops and write the interpretive plan.

Elizabeth Morse Genius was the first child and only daughter of Charles Hosmer Morse, who made a fortune in Chicago by dealing in equipment that was vital to the nation’s growth in the 19th century. Fairbanks, Morse & Company was involved in scales, steam engines, windmills, farm equipment and more. Genius inherited her father’s wealth along with a respect for hard work and a tradition of philanthropy.

Today, the Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust supports organizations that, among other things, promote humility and self-sacrifice, help relieve human suffering and promote dignity and self-esteem, especially among youths from under-served communities. The trust’s grantees include the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, the National Museum of the American Indian, the Field Museum and Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

“The Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust has a stellar reputation for carefully choosing worthy projects to support,” said Lauren Dodge, development director at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. “The trust focuses on projects in the Chicago area, so its generous grant to the ALPLM recognizes that our mission and Lincoln’s legacy benefit people in all parts of the state.”

The mission of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is to inspire civic engagement through the diverse lens of Illinois history and sharing with the world the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln. We pursue this mission through a combination of rigorous scholarship and high-tech showmanship built on the bedrock of the ALPLM’s unparalleled collection of historical materials – roughly 13 million items from all eras of Illinois history.

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