Museum Special Exhibit Online - May 2010

Civil War Collection report by Braden S.

Abraham Lincoln Life Mask and hands

    A life mask is something where people put wax or plaster over someone specific's face (Abraham Lincoln) and makes a replica of it. When Clark Mills and Leonard Volk made life masks of "Honest Abe" they differed very much. Clarke's mask was called technically inferior because it looked different by capturing the stress of the civil war that it had put on him. But, Clark's mask however, was a full skull compared to Volk's face. Out of these only two life masks of Abe Lincoln, both are in very good condition. When Leonard Volk was making the life mask in 1860, Lincoln called it "Anything but agreeable". But finally, when Mr. Lincoln saw the mask, he called it "The animal himself" and was very pleased that it looked like him and people would be able to see his true face.

Braden S.

    Why does a bayonet have three ends? You may have asked yourself why it doesn't have two edges like a sword instead. The answer is that when a triangular cut was made, the body wouldn't be able to close it itself thus, making medical attention more needed. When doctors would have to treat these wounds, they would have to sew the ends of the wound very carefully to get it right and to not leak. However, In the Civil War, bayonets were almost not used for stabbing or killing. They were commonly used for candle holders, tent stakes and pokers for meat on a fire. Almost no kills were reported for the bayonet because if a guy was running at you with a fixed bayonet, the chances are that you won't stay there, you would be running.

Braden S.