Lincoln 2.0 Inaugural Ball Celebrates Obama’s Election In Historic Location

WASHINGTON, DC – Throughout his historic run for the White House and in the planning of the 56th Presidential Inauguration, President-elect Barack Obama has called to mind the vision and legacy of Abraham Lincoln.

In the final countdown to Inauguration Day and as Washington, D.C.’s cultural community begins its four-month Lincoln bicentennial tribute, inauguration-goers and history buffs can toast Barack Obama — or “Lincoln 2.0” — in the actual location where Abraham Lincoln himself was feted in 1865.

The Lincoln 2.0 Inaugural Ball captures the Victorian essence of Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Ball, which took place at the landmark building that now houses the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery while celebrating the modern spirit of possibility sparked by the 2008 election.

Produced by The American Experience Foundation, in partnership with Destination DC, the official convention and tourism corporation for the nation’s capital, the Inaugural Ball will include lavish food stations, live entertainment, a full-service open bar and open access to the magnificent art collections of the museum, including the Lincoln Gallery and special exhibitions mounted in honor of the Lincoln bicentennial.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Director Betsy Broun stated, “We are absolutely thrilled to be hosting the Lincoln 2.0 Inaugural Ball on the exact site of President Abraham Lincoln’s second Inaugural Ball. The evening will feature our special show The Honor of Your Company is Requested: President Lincoln’s Inaugural Ball. It will be an event filled with legends and history as we prepare for the Inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama.”

In addition to honoring Obama, the ball also formally launches Living the Legacy: Lincoln in DC, a citywide cultural tourism program with more than 80 exhibitions, lectures, walking tours and more honoring Lincoln’s life and legacy, running January through April 2009.

“The Lincoln 2.0 Inaugural Ball is a chance for us to celebrate a powerful moment for our city and our country in a very historic place,” said Bill A. Hanbury, president and CEO, Destination DC. “It’s also a great way to kick off our Lincoln bicentennial celebration, which will extend the excitement of this inauguration to travelers who visit D.C. throughout the spring.”

The ball is set for Sunday, January 18, one day after Obama and Biden trace Lincoln’s own inaugural journey by arriving to D.C. by train and two days before the swearing-in ceremony that takes its theme, “A New Birth of Freedom,” from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

Tickets are priced at $375 for general admission or $500 for VIP tickets, which include access to a Victorian champagne reception in the museum’s great hall and other special perks. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Smithsonian Art Museum and The American Experience Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity and affiliate of Destination DC that develops national programs to educate the public about the arts, culture, American democracy and unique heritage of Washington, D.C. Black-tie attire is encouraged, but Victorian attire is also welcome.

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