Covering Kentucky

Nov 9, 2012 9:38 AM

Lincoln Watch Held By Kentucky Historical Society Used In Film

A pocket watch that once belonged to Abraham Lincoln, and now part of the Kentucky Historical Society (KHS) collection, is featured in Steven Spielberg's newest film Lincoln.

Academy Award-winning sound designer Ben Burtt contacted the KHS in May. The sound team wanted to incorporating as many historically accurate sounds as possible into the movie - including the ticking of his pocket watch.

KHS Director of Museum Collections and Exhibitions Trevor Jones says he was reluctant to participate at first.

"Although I very much wanted to help, I was initially skeptical. Lincoln's watch is an iconic artifact at KHS and is irreplaceable," Jones said. "I was concerned that winding it could cause damage, and I wasn't going to risk a signature artifact."

Closer examination by staff and experts determined that the watch is still in perfect mechanical working order. This summer, a sound technician visited Frankfort to record the ticking of the pocket watch at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History.

The watch and a recording of its ticking are now on display in KHS's signature exhibition, "A Kentucky Journey," through Saturday, Dec. 8.

For more images and information, read Jones' personal experience on the KHS blog at, visit the KHS Objects Catalog HERE, or visit KHS on Facebook.


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