From its earliest days, LMU began to receive and put on display Civil War and Abraham Lincoln memorabilia. In 1929, a room in Duke Hall of Citizenship was dedicated to house the growing collection. The Lincoln Room served as a showcase for the collection until the early 1970s.
In 1973, University President H. Y. Livesay and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees Dr. Frank G. Rankin shared their dream of a permanent facility to house the Lincoln Collection. Colonel Harland Sanders, a trustee, responded by providing $500,000 to construct the library and museum. The Board of Trustees secured another $500,000, and on December 31, 1974, the University completed the building's fundraising campaign.
The Lincoln Room was retired and a few months later, groundbreaking for the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum was held. The facility was completed in 1977. Today, the museum sees an average of 14,000 visitors per year.