Windows on America: The Challenges of Presidential Leadership

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Windows on America

This summer, the Oregon History Museum is proud to showcase a world-class collection of presidential history, never before on public display. Carefully acquired over more than fifty years, the Mark Family Collection, consisting of over 100 artifacts and documents, focuses on American presidential leadership and major turning points in the history of the United States. Inspired by the ways in which these great leaders communicated their views, persuaded and cajoled others, and responded to crisis, the collection consists of documents, images, and objects that gives unique perspective to more than two centuries of American history. This exhibition, opening to the public on June 15, 2013, opens windows into the hearts, minds, and councils of the most influential leaders of our nation.

The treasures in this exhibit rival the Smithsonian collections. Beginning with a letter from George Washington, the exhibit is graced by the likes of Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and John F. Kennedy. The compelling content leaps from everyday personal possessions and letters to iconic items like the only known copy of the Atlantic Charter signed by both Franklin Roosevelt and Churchill.

Some of the other notable highlights in this extensive collection include:

 An exact reproduction of the Declaration of Independence
 George Washington’s handwritten plans for Mount Vernon
 Official copy of the Thirteenth Amendment
 Swatch of fabric from Lincoln’s Fords Theater Chair
 The letter, pierced by a bullet, which was in Teddy Roosevelt’s pocket during an assassination attempt in 1912
 Only copy of the Atlantic Charter signed by Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt
 U.S.S. Antares Log from the Attack on Pearl Harbor
 Truman’s Inaugural Top Hat
 John F. Kennedy’s Oval Office Table and Rocking Chair

Teaching themes: Presidency/Leadership, Civil Rights/Civic Responsibility, Functions of Government