"There are many descendants of the Lincoln family in the Forkland area," she said.
Sheperson is the great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Lucey Shipley Hanks Sparrow, Abraham Lincoln's grandmother. After marrying Henry Sparrow, Lincoln's maternal grandmother lived in Forkland with her husband and children for more than 30 years, she said.
At first, the community center's museum started out in a smaller room of the facility. Since the grant and remodeling of a larger front room, the museum committee moved all museum items and focused the content on Lincoln.
In total, the remodeling cost about $6,000, said Wayne Thurman, museum grant director and museum committee chairman.
"We got our heads together," Sheperson said. "We wanted to stimulate pride in our community and preserve our heritage."
Business hours still not set
The Lincoln museum has not charged admission, and many of the items in the museum are either donated or on loan from people in the community. At this point, the museum will not have continuous hours. The museum will be available by appointment and on Saturdays, Sheperson said. It also will be open during the annual October Forkland Heritage Festival and Revue.
The museum committee members have been so busy with planning and hosting the grand opening that they have not had time to decide upon business hours, she said.
Before the grand opening, the community center received several calls from out of state. Many people wanted to share descendant information and collect it as well. Many people brought binders and folders loaded with stacks of information about their heritage.
"It's interesting to see people come and talk with others about the (Lincoln) connection," she said.
When people get in contact with the museum, it's a chance for the museum to gather added information about descendants and possibly collect items from the time period, Sheperson said.
The Lincoln museum had a limited budget to fund the grand opening, but the museum committee worked hard and pulled together to make it happen, Thurman said.
"When people work together," he said, "you get a lot done."