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Richmond National Battlefield Park has loaned its bronze statue of Abraham and Tad Lincoln to the Valentine Museum for a temporary outdoor exhibition. New Market Corporation, which owns the historic Tredegar campus where the National Park Service maintains a visitor contact station, is preparing the site for a purposed amphitheater that requires the relocation of the statue.
Twenty years ago this April, the National Park Service accepted the donation of the life size bronze statue from the United States Historical Society (USHS) and installed it outside the main entrance of the National Park Service’s leased visitor center at Tredegar’s Pattern Building.
Conceived by USHS founder Robert Kline and designed by sculptor David Frech, the statue depicts the 16th president and his 12-year-old son, Tad, resting on a bench during their momentous visit to Richmond on April 4 and 5, 1865. The father and son toured the burned and Union-occupied former capital of the Confederacy on the cusp of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s surrender and ten days prior to Lincoln’s assassination. The statue and its commemorative plaza present Lincoln not as a conqueror, but as a peacemaker committed to national reunification and reconciliation. Carved granite stones top the elliptical wall behind the statue featuring a quote from Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, “to bind up our nation’s wounds.”
“We are grateful to the Valentine Museum for ensuring that this significant work of art will remain accessible to the public,” said Doyle Sapp, superintendent of Richmond National Battlefield Park and Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site. “The loan will enable the statue and its story to continue to educate and inspire people while the National Park Service and its partners explore options for a new, permanent location.”
The Lincoln statue, without its surrounding stone elements, will be exhibited on loan to the Valentine, a non-profit museum committed to preserving and interpreting Richmond’s history. The statue will be displayed in the Valentine’s Tenth Street terrace between Clay and Marshall Streets.