These immortal words of President Lincoln are still true today in our polarized environment. Ever since the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum www.lincolnlibraryandmuseum.com opened in 2004, we had been talking about taking a trip to Springfield, Illinois to visit it.
When we received an offer from Travel Zoo (www.travelzoo.com), it seemed like the right time to make the trip. Travel Zoo offered a package for $89 that included a room in the Statehouse Inn Hotel, admission for two to the museum, breakfast, a $10 off voucher for dinner at Arlington’s, a restaurant a three minute walk away, and complementary drinks at the bar in the hotel.
Travel Zoo’s deal was definitely a good one. Even without it, however, The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library is worth a trip especially if you live in the Chicago area. From the north side of Chicago, it’s a three and a half hour car trip. Also, Amtrak goes to Springfield from Union Station in Chicago. The station in Springfield is a short walk from the Statehouse Inn.
For those who have never been to Springfield there are several interesting historic sites to see there including Lincoln’s home and historic area, his old law offices, the old Capitol Building, and the original train depot. In addition, the State of Illinois Museum is worth seeing.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum contains some wonderfully interactive exhibits as well as exhibits illustrating many periods of Lincoln’s life. The Museum and Library also houses many original document and artifacts.
|replica of Lincoln family in the lobby of the museum|
As we came in, we were directed to a short film “The Ghost in the White House” that explained on a very accessible level how historians combed through documents and various artifacts to get a better idea of historical events. The use of holograms and some theatrics made this topic come alive. Other exhibits traced the progression of slavery as an issue and Lincoln’s own evolution throughout his career and during the Civil War leading to his issuing The Emancipation Proclamation.
Another exhibit done by the journalist Tom Russert “The Campaign of 1860” juxtaposes modern 21st century campaign techniques on the Presidential campaign of 1860. This exhibit gives us all a lot to think about. If Lincoln ran for President in 2016, would he stand any chance of winning? The Republican Party probably wouldn’t consider him Conservative enough. TV and other media might not consider him attractive and telegenic enough to be worth getting much coverage. As a poor boy who was largely self-educated, he would have lacked the elite alumni connections one obtains from attending a prestigious university. He wouldn’t have had enough of his own money to finance a campaign and may have been too humble to raise huge donations. Fortunately, the United States of America and the world are blessed that Lincoln was President during the 1860’s. I hate to think how history would have unfolded without him in the White House during that pivotal time in our history.