SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) – A paper lantern President Abraham Lincoln used for his 1864 presidential campaign and a piece of the coat he wore the night he was assassinated are some of the items no longer at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library. 

About 1,500 artifacts from the Taper Collection, which makes up roughly 3% of the museum’s entire collection, have been removed at the end of October following the expiration of a loan agreement between the museum and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, now the Lincoln Presidential Foundation, which borrowed money to purchase the collection 15 years ago.

The museum’s executive director, Christina Shutt, said that the foundation has the money to pay the loan, but that they haven’t.

“What is known is that, in government-mandated documents required of not-for-profits, the foundation has revealed that it has the money to pay off the remaining debt on the collection,” Shutt said in an email to museum staff shared with WCIA. 

Other items that have left the museum include walking sticks the president owned along with the blood-stained gloves and handkerchief Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd, had at Ford’s Theater the night of the president’s assassination. Also gone is a piece of blood-stained fabric from her dress from that night.

“Regrettably, even after raising tens of millions of dollars more than the loan of 15 years ago, and even with the repeated promise to maintain a permanent home for the collection at the ALPLM, the foundation has ultimately chosen not to meet the longstanding commitment,” Shutt said.

According to the email, several artifacts from the Taper collection were “underwritten,” where the foundation solicited donors to pay to ensure certain objects would stay at the museum “in perpetuity”. But the underwritten artifacts were also removed from the museum.

Still, the museum has roughly 50,000 of the president’s items and objects connected to his life.

“[The Taper Collection’s] absence will not interfere with the ALPLM’s mission and shouldn’t be seen as darkening a promising future,” Shutt said.

The museum said the artifacts have been taken to an auction house in Chicago and they don’t know what the foundation will do with the collection.