Last year, news was made when a sculpture of President Lincoln’s hand by George Grey Barnard was stolen from the Kankakee County Museum in Kankakee, Illinois. The SAA Issues and Advocacy blog published a post about various thefts of Lincolniana, including the theft of this sculpture. This crime highlights the difficulties that all cultural heritage institutions, but particularly smaller museums, libraries, and archives, have in balancing providing access to materials and protecting them from criminals.
Sometimes, stories of crimes in archives and museums have a nice resolution, and the story of Barnard’s sculpture is one such story. Fourteen months after the crime, it has been reported by the Kankakee Daily Journal that, on the 208th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth (February 12), the sculpture was anonymously left at the Saint Rose of Lima Parish Church in Kankakee. It was then returned to the Kankakee County Museum, which, since the theft, has stepped up their security.
Read more on the CBS Chicago website or the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art blog.