Return Visit | 31-ft Lincoln Sculpture

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"Return Visit"  | 31-ft. Lincoln Sculpture

Peoria Riverfront Museum: Water Street

Internationally acclaimed public art sculptor Seward Johnson (grandson of the Johnson & Johnson founder) took three years to create this monumental painted bronze of Abraham Lincoln standing with a modern "common man” holding Lincoln's Gettysburg address. Entitled "Return Visit," the 31-ft. tall, 19-ton work was completed in 2014 and patterned after a lifesize 1991 commission permanently located in Gettysburg.

The artist's intention was to show that the Gettysburg Address is just as relevant to our society today as it was when written by Lincoln in 1863. 

Before its dramatic installation at Museum September 19 the giant Lincoln sculpture had become known to millions in Chicago where it has stood in front of the Tribune Tower on Michigan Avenue for a year.

Giant Lincoln is here to help kick off the Museum's Illinois Bicentennial exhibition (Spring 2018) will be at the Museum for one year.


"Return Visit" is dedicated in honor of Harriett Swager and her late husband Gene Swager, who supported public art for decades and sponsored by Michael & Margee Cullinan, River City Construction LLC, Gerry & Pam Shaheen, Dr. James Adams, Centre State International Trucks Inc, Dewberry, R. Gingerich Crane Inc and an anonymous donor.

Additional support comes from the Community Foundation of Central Illinois, Rep. Darin LaHood, Prairie Material, Mathis-Kelley Construction Supply Company, Whitney & Associates Geotechnical Engineering, Ironworkers Local 112, Mark Twain Hotel, the Visionary Society and the Board of Directors of the Peoria Riverfront Museum.

The museum gratefully acknowledges the cooperation of the County of Peoria, the City of Peoria and the partnership with the Seward Johnson Foundation.

Gettysburg Address

Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth. 

- Abraham Lincoln, November 19, 1863, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania