Friday, August 3, 2012

Trip to the Lincoln Museum

Earlier this year I read Bill O'Reilly's book Killing Lincoln which is a nonfiction book about the last two weeks of Lincoln's life. I definitely don't know as much about history as I should, so I really enjoyed learning more about the assassination plot and how everything transpired. Ever since then I've really wanted to visit the Lincoln Museum in Springfield, Illinois. I've heard really good things about it from lots of different people, so I put going to the museum on my "things to do this summer" list and hoped it would work out.

This past Wednesday I made that happen. I took a day trip to the museum with my mom and younger sister, Chandra. My van seats four people in addition to myself, so we also took my friends Kate and Hillarie. Springfield is about two hours from St. Louis, so it was definitely a doable distance for a day trip. My mom, Chandra and I met our friends about 9:45 and we were on our way by 10. We arrived just before noon and stayed at the museum for about three hours. There would've been so much to take pictures of, but photography was prohibited in much of the museum. I still got lots of nice pictures, though.
When you walk into the museum off to the left is a log cabin/forest area representing Lincoln's early life and to the right is the White House area representing Lincoln's presidency. You enter either of these areas and then progress through different rooms taking you through the journey of Lincoln's early life or his presidency. There are tons of things to read; you would have to spend hours and hours at the museum if you wanted to read everything. We just leisurely strolled through everything.
We also watched a short film about Lincoln's life called Lincoln's Eyes. This was a really neat experience because there were some really neat effects during the movie, like lights that simulated lightning, smoke that resembled gunshots/war and even vibrations under the seats and in the floor to really make you jump at dramatic parts. It was really neat! We also went to the holavision 3-D theater to see the "Ghosts of the Library" exhibit. That was really exciting, too, and left you wondering, "Was that real?" after it was over.
Lincoln was only president for four and a half years, and in that time he aged considerably. There were five pictures of Lincoln displayed on one of the walls in White House exhibit, one from each year of his presidency. It was very interesting to see the physical toll that being president of the United States during the Civil War took on him.

There were also lots of wax figures of the Lincoln family and other different people from that time period. I've never seen wax figures in person before and they were really neat. Most of them looked so life-like. There were also lots of other things on display to look at. One of the things that I thought was really neat was a picture that looked like George Washington from the front, but looked like Abraham Lincoln from the right side and Ulysses S. Grant from the left. (I didn't get a picture of that since photography was prohibited.)
Here are some other wax figures from history: the scoundrel John Wilkes Booth and Civil War heroes, Ulysses S. Grant and George B. McClellan:
 Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass:
This is Mrs. Lincoln's attic, a play area for children. I think it would be a lot of fun to play in if I were a kid:
I'm used to living in St. Louis where the admission to a lot of the museums and attractions is completely free. (Did you know that St. Louis has the distinction of being the #2 city in the country for having the most free things to see/do (second only to Washington DC)? The admission to the Lincoln Museum cost $12/person (which seems like a lot to my St. Louis mind) but the cost was well worth it and I can't wait to go back!

I love Abraham Lincoln so much and think he was an amazing man. He left such a wonderful legacy, and he's certainly one of our country's best presidents, if not THE best. I think he'd be ashamed of the things that go on in our political system in this day and age.


Elaine said...

I'm going back now. I've forgotten how much I loved this museum and it looks like they have more exibits than before. Btw, have you read Team of Rivals. It's a really great book about Mr. Lincoln if you're looking for further reading:-) As always, love your blog!

kilarney's conundrums said...

Love your shirt! And how 'bout Channie and Freddie Douglas! They make a good pair! Ha!

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