The Animatronic Emancipator: Animatronic Abraham Lincoln to Be Auctioned

Among the curiosities at an upcoming American Civil War Wax Museum auction, is an animatronic Abraham Lincoln which has been presiding over the museum located near the battlefield of Gettysburg.

The final sale will come on the heels of extensive renovations that took place at the half-century old museum. Of its collection of Civil War representatives, the museum plans to release dozens to the public, of which the animatronic Abraham Lincoln might be the most desired 150 years after his Gettysburg Address was delivered near the site. The town of Gettysburg recently celebrated that famous speech, alongside the larger festivities commemorating the battle which took place there.

While the battle will remain a strong part of the American Civil War Wax Museum’s presentation, the waxen visages will be no more. That’s because the museum will become known as Gettysburg Heritage Center following the renovations. The new focus of the museum will be on the people who lived at Gettysburg, before, during, and after the battle which bore its name.

The museum originally opened in 1962, during the run up to the first centennial anniversary of the battle. Some 9 million visitors have taken in the sites, but many may not realize that many of the figures on display are made of vinyl, not wax. The substitute material has helped stave off financial problems while maintaining the durability of the pieces on display.

One piece which will endure in the new Gettysburg Heritage Center will be a display of Pickett’s Charge, perhaps the single most memorable moment of the battle which turned the tide of the Civil War, and which took the lives of more than 50,000 Americans. The charge, a great blunder on the part of the Confederates, decided the battle in favor of the Union, The Guardian reports.

Many who make their living serving tourists in Gettysburg are taking a long and hard look at what their financial future holds in the period immediately following 150th anniversary celebrations. The speech following the battle provided some temporary relief, but now it appears that it may be some time before significant interest in the battle is renewed.

To that end the museum was sold seven months ago, and the last two months have seen the extensive renovations that prompted the auction. Videos and other scenes depicting the bustling transportation hub that was Gettysburg around the time of the battle will replace many of the missing figures.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE