Has this Lincoln statue always been at the New Salem Visitor’s Center & Museum lobby? The plaque indicates the sculptor as Larry Dale Wetherholt. If I’m reading the inscription correctly, it seems the work of art was “repaired and bronzed”-meaning that it had existed previously? At any rate, it was presented to Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site on February 12, 2011. Please read the wall plague (pictured above) for other details. Like a few other Lincoln statues, it features young Lincoln engrossed in reading a book. It also features a dog at his side (a motif that has also been used before). I checked the excellent book Lincoln In Sculpture by Carl Volkmann, but this particular statue is not listed in it. Obviously, the sculpture is meant to convey the Abraham Lincoln of New Salem. He appears strong, vibrant, friendly, and thirsty for knowledge (hence, the title of the work “Search for Knowledge”). As I was standing at the desk at the entrance of the museum, a few children came in to the lobby. Instantly, the kids were all over the statue. That kind of activity is probably what Wetherholt has in mind when he created it. No cold unapproachable statue, but a Lincoln that is close to the floor, sitting low, with a dog. If that doesn’t invite interaction-I don’t know what does.
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