It might be a $6.5 million hat—however it may additionally not be. WBEZ studies that the crown jewel of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum’s assortment, Lincoln’s stovepipe hat, one in every of simply three thought to nonetheless exist, could not have belonged to the 16th president in any case.
Two studies obtained by the station discovered inadequate proof to tie it to Lincoln. One was a 2013 report penned by prime curators with the Smithsonian Nationwide Museum of American Historical past and Chicago Historical past Museum who sought to determine its historic provenance: The Springfield, Sick., museum had maintained that Lincoln gave the hat to an Illinois farmer in 1858, although a century later a descendant mentioned the hat was given in 1861 throughout a go to to DC.
The report discovered “the present documentation is inadequate” to assist both story and instructed the museum “soften its claims” and even attempt to return the hat.
It was acquired in 2007 as a part of a mammoth $25 million buy of Lincoln objects by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Basis, which runs individually from the museum.
The inspiration in 2014 requested the FBI to see if DNA evaluation might set up a tie to Lincoln. It relied on DNA from Lincoln’s hair and blood-spattered objects from his assassination however discovered a “restricted amount of remaining DNA knowledge” within the hat; most of what it recovered “was in keeping with being up to date DNA from a person who had just lately dealt with the merchandise.” The story will get thornier: Alan Lowe—the museum’s government director since July 2016, per the Chicago Solar-Instances—solely just lately realized in regards to the studies, a timeline that he referred to as “unacceptable” in a letter to the inspiration.
The inspiration itself is mired in monetary troubles tied to its 2007 purchase, which presently has it $9.7 million in debt.
This text initially appeared on Newser: They Spent Thousands and thousands on a Hat That May Be Price Nothing