Springfield, Ill., trip: Part IV — Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

During the afternoon of our full day in Springfield, Ill., we visited the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. I know it’s fairly new, but can’t tell you when it opened because the Web site for the museum is hard to navigate.

The museum was pretty cool, though it sounds hokey. There are different areas around the building, each set up to showcase a time period from Lincoln’s life. In these areas are wax figures, artifacts, interactive activities, etc. I’m telling you, it’s worth going if you’re into American history. My favorite part was in the Civil War area. First, there’s a “Civil War in 4 Minutes” video that shows you the battle lines and casualties that took place over the course of the war. Pretty amazing. Then, there’s a wall with close to 200 old photographs on it. At the base of the wall are computer monitors with touch screens, and you can click through to select pictures from the wall to view and read descriptions. I also enjoyed seeing one of Lincoln’s stovepipe hats, which had finger marks worn into the brim from all the times Lincoln’ tipped his hat at passersby.

We were at the museum for hours. At the end, Sarah wanted to watch one of the free movies playing in the theater area. I reluctantly agreed, but must say that the presentation was among the best I’ve ever seen at a museum. I think the show was called “In Lincoln’s Eyes.” Was very good. Then we watch a short, live-action show called “Ghosts of the Lincoln Museum,” or something like that. It was merely OK. Probably more exciting for kids.

The one drawback for a Canon digital SLR camera-toting tourist is that you can only take pictures in the lobby area. That said, here’s a photo of me, being goofy and acting stoic, with a wax Abraham, Mary Todd and son family outside the “White House.” Enjoy:


That evening, we hit the city’s “finest” restaurant, Maldiners to celebrate our anniversary. The food was excellent, though the spot we were seated at was right near the kitchen and workers were running around the area like crazy the entire time. We got some wine and headed back to the B&B where we ended up watching, I kid you not, this hilarious local elementary school’s spelling bee on a community television channel. Some of the kids were sooooo bad. Makes you fear the future. At least we slept well that night.

I’ll wrap up this series of posts later today or tomorrow, then we can get back to all the parenting stuff you’ve come to enjoy.

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