Within the framework of Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial year, Chicago History Museum in Illinois, United States of America, links this key character in American history with his contemporary Benito Juarez. This connection is observed through 2 exhibitions that remark parallelism between both historic characters, to be opened in Saturday October 10th 2009.

The show about the Mexican president is called “Benito Juarez and the Making of Modern Mexico”, mounted with the collaboration of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) with items from the heap of the National Museum of History “Castillo de Chapultepec” (MNH), exhibited for the first time in the United States.

Open in Chicago until April 12th 2010, the exhibition includes 25 objects from Mexican heaps, such as a bronze death mask of Juarez, a portrait painted by Jorge Gonzalez Camarena where Juarez is observed with his top hat, a pen and an emblem presented to him after the Republic’s Triumph.

A portrait of himself and his wife, Margarita Maza de Juarez, painted by Jose Escudero y Espronceda; 2 oil paintings that represent the house he dwelled during his youth in Oaxaca; the photographic album of Juarez family, as well as a replica of the mural painting “Triumphant Entrance of Benito Juarez to Palacio Nacional”, by Antonio Gonzalez Orozco, are exhibited too. 

Historian Salvador Rueda Smither, director of the National Museum of History (MNA), who provided advisory for this exhibition, commented that the relevance of it relies on the reflection of both human proportion and historical magnitude of the character, considered a symbol.

Curatorial work was conducted by Olivia Mahoney (Chicago History Museum) and Cesareo Moreno (National Museum of Mexican Art); the exhibition displays pieces from different American museums and libraries, Homage to Juarez Precinct and from the Finance and Public Credit Secretariat (SCHP), Mexico.

The heap is distributed in 3 sections: “The revolutionary patriot”, showing the way Juarez became one of the main liberal leaders after the North American invasion to Mexico (1846-1848).

The section called “The reformist president” exposes the role of Benito Juarez as ruler of Mexico in the years of Reform War and French Intervention, as well as his transcendent political work.

The last section, “The national icon”, remarks the heroic image of Juarez built after his death, as well as his presence in history. 

Abraham Lincoln Transformed

This exhibition examines the fundamental change in the perspective of the former president of the United State, who from a non abolitionist posture before Civil War, he changed his attitude, which led to proclamation of the abolition and liberation of 3 million African American slaves.

While the United States confronted its darkest hour during Civil War, in the middle of 19th century Mexico also fought the Reform war that leaded to its modern State.

“Benito Juarez and the Making of Modern Mexico” and “Abraham Lincoln Transformed” show parallelisms between both leaders, who confronted emergency situations facing the future of their countries.