February 7, 2018 10:49:33 AM
With last year's completion of a $10 million renovation at Mississippi State's Mitchell Memorial Library which is now home to the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library, university officials take pride in noting that anyone who chooses to write a book on the Civil War General and 18th President of the United States will require an extensive visit to the university.
Since the Grant library moved from Southern Illinois University to MSU in 2012, scholars and writers have arrived regularly to pore over roughly 15,000 linear feet of Grant-related correspondence, research notes, artifacts, photographs, scrapbooks and memorabilia.
While scholars may thrive scouring the files in search of minute details of Grant's history, most of us don't intend to write a book and, to be honest, the idea of wading through the mountains of manuscripts is not particularly appealing.
Even so, a visit to the Grant Presidential Library is something almost anyone should be able to appreciate, thanks to the presence of a state-of-the-art museum chronicling Grant's life and his significance in American history and a gallery dedicated to the Frank and Virginia Williams Collection of Lincolniana, a recent donation that was considered the largest privately-owned Abraham Lincoln collection in America.
The museum and gallery contain not only artifacts of the two historic figures, but newspaper and magazine clippings from the area with detailed explanations of the object's significance as well as videos that tell the stories of these great figures.
You do not have to be a scholar to enjoy spending an hour in the Grant library and because it tells the story visually, it is hard to imagine a better way for a teacher to introduce students to this part of our American History.
The library staff should be commended for these efforts to make Grant and Lincoln accessible to young and old, scholars and non-scholars alike.
Through these efforts, the Grant Presidential Library is something our entire community can enjoy.
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