On Wednesday we headed out to Springfield, a little under a two-hour drive from Macomb to visit The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. This Museum is considered to be the first major Experience Museum where it combines priceless historical artifacts with innovative, contemporary storytelling technologies. Visitors are offered an engaging, emotional and educational experience through immersive, “you-are-there” exhibits. There are two different sections – one depicting the early years growing up and the second reflecting his political career more specifically his presidency.
The first section shows young Lincoln presented in a frontier, log cabin and a country store walk through with a number of interesting depictions from his history being represented.
The second area reflects the political history portion of his life.
The second section is represented by the White House South entrance. As you walk through the doors, you first see various dresses worn by Mary Todd Lincoln and her contemporaries during her time in the White House.
Turning to the hallway, you walk through what might be called The Hall of Political History covering Lincoln’s entry into the Republican fray. This is an unsettling hallway with various voices quoting from newspapers regarding the Lincolns’ appearance, manners and policies – many unpleasant for sure. On the walls are actual political cartoons of the period as well as genuine quotes from the newspapers regarding the Lincolns’ – not very pleasant stuff. The commentaries presented convey the opinions and beliefs he had to contend with, and the criticism his family endured, that was unprecedented in previous White House families
From here the walk through experience presents his cabinet personalities, the divisions of the Civil War and the faces of the combatants and ends with his assassination and funeral procession. Two theater experiences include holographic 3D multiscreen immersion into the Civil War, and the Historic research and artifact Library.
After touring the Museum we headed across the street to plaza and Union Station.
Union Station is a former train station and now part of the complex of buildings that together form the Library and Museum complex. One of the more prominent features of Springfield Union Station was a three-story (110 ft) clock tower. The tower made a striking addition to the Springfield skyline, helping the station become an immediately recognizable landmark.
After passenger train service ended, Union Station housed several private businesses before being used for Illinois state offices until September, 2004. The building was extensively restored as the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library visitor center, which reopened in March 2007.
Today Union Station houses a display of movie items related to Steven Spielberg movie Lincoln that came out in 2012 staring Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln (won the Best Actor Academy Award for his role). On display are movie sets, props and costumes worn during the movie.
All in all it was a nice day and an interesting spot to visit.