The Rolland Center

The Rolland Center: A Legacy of Scholarship

The Rolland Center for Lincoln Research is a program of the Friends of the Lincoln Collection in Indiana, Inc. in collaboration with the Allen County Public Library and the Indiana State Museum & Historic Sites. This program focuses on renewing and enhancing knowledge of the life and times of Abraham Lincoln through a timely suite of educational and professional activities.

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The Rolland Center for Lincoln Research

The Center is scheduled to open fall of 2021 in the Main Library and will highlight the thousands of amazing items in the Lincoln Collection that are currently housed and curated by ACPL.  These include original photographs of Abraham Lincoln, his family, Cabinet members, and generals; letters and documents to and from Lincoln; diaries of Civil War soldiers; and so much more.  The Collection is currently located in the lower levels of the Main Library.

The Center will also incorporate an expert-in-residence program.  That expert may be a scholar, artist, or someone else who works with the materials in the Collection to further an understanding of Lincoln.

There are four points that serve as the North Star for the Rolland Center, guiding the project team members as they work through the planning and construction process.

  1. Connect people to the life and times of Abraham Lincoln.
  2. Display and bring to life this incomparable collection of Lincoln materials.
  3. Deliver a 21st century engaging experience.
  4. Make the Center a destination for people inside and outside of our community.

ACPL has two Lincoln Librarians on staff.  Those librarians have begun the process of organizing the materials and developing storylines for the exhibit.  They will focus on the following themes:

  • Lincoln overview
  • Lincoln family album
  • Lawyer & legislator
  • Elections
  • Commander-in-Chief
  • Slavery/Emancipation Proclamation

These themes will be expanded upon through a combination of the physical items in the Lincoln Collection and digital interactive displays.  This will not be a typical museum experience.  Instead, we will use technology in such a way that individuals of varying abilities, ages, and knowledge levels will be able to fully engage with the Collection.

The Center will be located in the Great Hall near the Plaza entrance.  It will use the space currently known as Bays 2 and 3, and will extend a bit into Readers’ Services.

The entire project is being funded by the Friends of the Lincoln Collection. ACPL will not be responsible for costs related to construction, technology, etc. Construction began in January 2021 and continues at a steady pace. The pandemic has impacted the supply chains and construction, so the Center currently plans on opening in late summer 2021.

We will continue to share updates about the Rolland Center as we move forward in the process.  We hope you share our excitement for this project and the new opportunity it provides to enrich our community through lifelong learning and discovery.

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For more information about the Rolland Center and the Lincoln Collection, contact us at [email protected]