GREENCASTLE >> A nation went into mourning April 15, 1865, when President Lincoln was killed.

In honor of the 150th year of his death, Allison-Antrim Museum, 365 S. Ridge Ave., is exhibiting "The Nation Mourns Its Loss: Lincoln & Victorian Mourning," which continues through June in the south exhibit bay in the museum's German bank barn on site.

Greencastle native Ryan Berger, now of Hagerstown, Md., has loaned a portion of his extensive, museum-quality collection of mourning memorabilia, spanning a period from the mid-19th century to about 1930.

An open house will take place April 18, during Franklin County's Spring into History day. Berger will be present, and a 19th century horse-drawn hearse will be displayed on museum property.

Berger began collecting mourning memorabilia more than 20 years ago, his interest coming from his occupation as an undertaker. The first piece in his collection was a gift of a stick pin made of hair.

His collection now numbers more than 150 items and includes door badges, jewelry, a pin with reverse painting on glass, glassware, art, drape (a form of pressed glass), flowers made of hair and displayed in shadow boxes, original books on mourning, Currier and Ives prints and commemorative pieces that were made upon the deaths of presidents Lincoln, Washington, Jackson, McKinley, and Garfield.

The Victorian Era in England and the U.S. was perhaps the period most entwined in the strict mourning rituals as established by Queen Victoria, upon the death of her husband Prince Albert. The exhibit will demonstrate many of these, etiquette, and customs (fashion, length of mourning periods, draping of windows and mirrors, hair art, jewelry and more) adhered to by society.

Other items from the museum's collections will be on display in the north exhibit bay, such as the Philadelphia Inquirer newspapers from April 15-28, 1865, with news stories detailing the events following Lincoln's assassination.

The exhibit is free, but donations are accepted. Museum hours are noon to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and by appointment.

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