Preparations Underway for Lincoln Exhibit's Arrival in Oakhurst

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One of only four cities in California to host the Abraham Lincoln: Self Made in America learning station exhibit, volunteers in Oakhurst are hard at work making preparations.

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The community really came together to make this possible

A group of local volunteers are already hard at work making preparations for the Abraham Lincoln: Self Made in America Learning Station Exhibit coming to Oakhurst next March.

"We are one of only four communities in all of California to have this exhibit, and one of only 40 communities in all of the country," said Mary Ann Hutcherson during a meeting of the volunteers Monday, Sept. 21. Hutcherson is heading up the effort to organize the event.

The traveling exhibit, which was made possible by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and several other organizations, was created as part of the 2009 bicentennial celebration. Official literature of the exhibit says the purpose is to "Enable the delivery of valuable lessons and messages to host communities by examining the life and times of America’s 16th president."

The hardest part of the process was filling out the application. However, Hutcherson believes Lincoln’s connection with the area is what made Oakhurst’s application successful. "When we wrote the application, we researched the connection, how he signed the Yosemite grant. That is probably why we got the exhibit," she said.

Most remembered for his leadership during the Civil War, President Lincoln has a close tie with the region as it was him who signed the Yosemite Grant in 1864. At the time, this was an unprecedented move, as never before had the United States federal government set aside park land for preservation. The move paved the way for the creation of the country’s first National Park in 1872. The formation of Yosemite has had a drastic impact on the eastern Madera County region, known as California’s Gateway to Yosemite, as it brought tourists to the region since the 1800’s, making tourism one of the predominant industries.

Hutcherson said she was very happy to see the way that Oakhurst residents and leaders backed the vision of brining the exhibit here. "The community really came together to make this possible," said Hutcherson, as various leaders drafted letters of support, a necessary part of the application process, and people offered whatever help they could give. "Their letters prove once again that Oakhurst really comes together for important causes."

While the support helped make Oakhurst a stop along the tour, more volunteers are needed. "We need people to help on the tech side, people to work things in the background such as taking reservations," she said. Interested parties can call (559) 658-6999. The group meets each month, with the next meeting set for October 19 at 3 pm at the King Vintage Museum.

The exhibit will be in Oakhurst March 6 through April 1, 2010 at the King Vintage Museum. Guests will be able to explore Lincoln’s life from his humble beginnings on a farm in Rural Kentucky, through his time as a legislator, lawyer and his ascension to the President of the United States. Hours are set at 9:30 am to 6 pm Mondays through Saturdays and 12 pm to 4 pm on Sundays. Morning hours during the week will be devoted to school tours. Admission is set at $3.

For more information about the region, please visit http://www.yosemitethisyear.com

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Jarrod Lyman
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