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Question of the day

Friday, Jan 17, 2014

* From a press release…

An exhibit of sets, costumes and props from Steven Spielberg’s award-winning movie “Lincoln” opened Friday at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, where it will be on display for years to come. Children can explore the exhibit free of charge when accompanied by an adult.

The exhibit, “Lincoln: History to Hollywood,” includes the set for Lincoln’s office, part of Mary Lincoln’s bedroom set, costumes worn by the actors and a variety of props used in the movie.

It’s being displayed at Union Station, just across the street from the presidential museum. The station will serve as an annex to the presidential museum where visitors can tour the exhibit and see video presentations about the movie.

“Steven Spielberg is a master story-teller, and ‘Lincoln’ is a classic. Movie buffs of all ages are going to come here to see this exhibit,” said Amy Martin, director of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. “And when they visit, they’re going to be caught up in the fascinating life of our greatest president.”

“Lincoln” earned Academy Awards for Daniel Day-Lewis as Best Actor and Rick Carter for Best Production Design.

“It is an honor to have this exhibit at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum,” Spielberg said when plans for the exhibit were announced. “When we visited for research on the film, it was our thought that there might be an opportunity to bring such an exhibit to Springfield, and that is now a reality.”

The sets and costumes are on loan from DreamWorks Studios. This allows the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum to present the display at minimal cost to visitors.

Children can tour the special exhibit at Union Station for free when accompanied by an adult. The cost for adults is just $5.

Adults also have the option of buying the new “full experience” package allowing them to tour the entire presidential library and museum and the new movie exhibit for $15. That’s just $3 more than the basic museum admission price, which is not changing.

Lincoln’s office is the key set in the movie. That’s where the president ponders how to pass a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery and pushes his aides to get the job done. The exhibit also includes a vignette of Mary Lincoln’s bedroom, the setting for emotional confrontations between husband and wife.

Visitors can see Oscar-nominated costumes for Lincoln, his wife and his son Tad. Props include the stethoscope from the scene of Lincoln’s death, Tad’s toys and gloves used by Daniel Day-Lewis as he portrayed Lincoln.

No tax dollars were used to move the exhibit from California to Springfield. That expense is being covered by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation.

It’s Friday, so let’s lighten things up a bit.

* The Question: Have you ever been to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum? If so, what was your opinion? If not, why not? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.

survey solutions

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - OneMan - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 11:34 am:

    Really liked it, the video of the lines moving in the war and the death totals week by week was very powerful.

  2. - walker - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 11:35 am:

    Greatly enjoyed it. Loved the humanity of it all.

  3. - Mason born - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 11:37 am:

    Used to go every couple years on field trips in school. Took my boys a couple years ago need to go back.

  4. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 11:37 am:

    OneMan, that is the single best museum display I’ve ever seen anywhere.

  5. - titan - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 11:39 am:

    I think it is a really top notch, world class museum.

  6. - MOD - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 11:40 am:

    Incredible blend of artifacts and technology; tells the life story in a meaningful and interactive way. A rare museum that can hold the attention and inspire a 3-year-old or a 73-year-old

  7. - Fan - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 11:40 am:

    Been there twice. Once to a book signing of Apollo 13 when Jim Lovell was there.

  8. - wordslinger - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 11:40 am:

    Yes. I find the museum geared toward more to young people with all the interactive exhibits, which is not a bad thing, in and off itself.

    The Lincoln home is very interesting. It’s revealing what close quarters even a wealthy attorney lived in back the day. Dude must have bumped his head a lot.

  9. - lake county democrat - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 11:42 am:

    I think Lincoln himself would have liked it.

  10. - Nick Wennerstrom - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 11:43 am:

    Its the best, most interactive museum I have been to. Clean, well displayed and educational. Perhaps not child friendly but well worth the trip.

  11. - DuPage Rep - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 11:44 am:

    Bring my kids there every time we are in Springfield. Makes them proud to be from Illinois for a change. Love the portion where you pass the video screens and voices of politicians and activits of the day saying horrible things about Lincoln. Great way to explain politics to your kids. Thank you George Ryan.

  12. - Deep South - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 11:45 am:

    Its really a great place…lots of material to consider. Plus, close proximity to other Lincoln sites. One really gets a sense of Lincoln’s life in Illinois and as president. A must see for everyone.

  13. - Nonplussed - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 11:45 am:

    I agree with OneMan too. First thing I think of when I think about the museum.

  14. - langhorne - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 11:46 am:

    it is an excellent museum, and accomplished the goal of combining history with emotion and technology to tell the story. as much as i like it, i like the old state capitol almost as much, because of its elegance and simplicity.

  15. - Ray del Camino - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 11:51 am:

    I think it is Smithsonian-quality. Top-notch.

  16. - Downstate - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 11:51 am:

    In addition to the Lincoln Museum, I have visited the Presidential Libraries for:
    FDR, Truman, IKE, JFK, LBJ, Ford, Carter, Bush I, and Clinton.

    I rank the Lincoln Library as #2 when compared to the others I’ve seen so far. They do an exceptional job in making it appealing to every age group.

    I was stunned to learn from the Lincoln Library folks that Japan was the country with the most tourists to visit the museum - other than the US.

    Not sure if that’s still the case - but that is what I was told a few years ago by them.

  17. - UISer - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 11:53 am:

    Fantastic place. I’m really into theatre, so I love the fact they employ full time actors in the awesome “Ghost in the Library” show. I know some people may think that sort of thing doesn’t belong in a presidential museum, but I love it! My favorite room is the one with all the political cartoons chastising Lincoln, and how they have the echoing criticisms coming from all around the room.

  18. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 11:53 am:

    I’ve been multiple times and loved it, but the past few years I’ve just dropped my visitors off at the door and picked them up later. Been there, done that.

    But I’m gonna revisit now to catch this new exhibit. More like this, please. :)

  19. - UISer - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 11:54 am:


    Who was number 1?

  20. - Hans Sanity - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 11:56 am:

    I enjoyed.

    Bought a book of Lincoln quotes and coffee mugs.

    If I visit again & stay longer than a day perhaps I’ll contact the library ahead of time.

  21. - Norseman - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 11:57 am:

    Add my voice to those who enjoyed the Civil War casualties timeline map. I also appreciate the programs the museum puts on commemorating special events.

  22. - Big Muddy - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 11:57 am:

    Awesome museum! If you can walk thru that place without feeling humbled or emotional you’re simply not human. The man did what no other could and the museum does a GREAT job of telling his story.

  23. - Upon Further Review - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 12:02 pm:

    Someday soon, I want to visit the museum. I have been to many of the other Lincoln sites in the past.

  24. - Downstate - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 12:02 pm:

    I really found the Gerald Ford museum to be the best. They did a wonderful job of presenting the historical aspects of his term of office along with the culture of that time, as well.
    I’ve taken my family with me on each library/museum visit. It’s an incredible way to capture a 4-8 year snapshot of history. (Although, the Texas Road Trip that included the Clinton Library, LBJ, Bush I, and the JFK assassination museum, may have been too much. My vacation itineraries are now pre-screened by my children.)

  25. - G'Kar - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 12:03 pm:

    There are parts of it I like a lot, like the Civil War in Five Minutes (which I use in my classes) and the whispering gallery of political cartoons. Other parts, though, seem a bit too “Disney” for my taste.

  26. - Been There - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 12:06 pm:

    Kicking myself for being in Springfield all the time while in session but never taking the time to visit. I have been in both but in the museum only for receptions and in the library when the Senate was moved there while construction was going on in the Capitol.
    This year for sure I will do the whole experience.

  27. - Aldyth - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 12:06 pm:

    When family come to visit, especially from out of state, it’s where I take them. They always come away impressed and (hopefully) a little better informed about Lincoln and the Civil War. I’d guess about a dozen copies of “Team of Rivals” has been sold just to my relatives.

  28. - RNUG - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 12:08 pm:

    OneMan / Rich,

    They have a almost identical movie / exhibit of the entire War Between the States, including the timelines and counts, at the Atlanta History Museum. If you are ever in Atlanta, it is well worth the time to visit.

  29. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 12:09 pm:

    Library disappoints, Museum does not.

  30. - RNUG - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 12:10 pm:

    The Lincoln museum here is one of the top ones in the country. I’ve toured it multiple times and made it one of the stops when I brought a national car club convention to town a couple of years ago.

  31. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 12:11 pm:

    Been there, go there as often as I can when in town.

    Worth the price of Admission and then some. The exhibits are well done, get the audience engaged, and give much more than artifacts and boards to read.

    The interactions are sensational for a museum, and presenting a Lincoln who shaped history, and not a character in history is the crowning achievement of the Museum and Library.

    “Haven’t been”?

    Get down there.

  32. - Retired - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 12:14 pm:

    In my opinion, it’s the one thing the State of Illinois didn’t screw up. It is a magnificent museum.

  33. - RNUG - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 12:15 pm:

    OneMan / Rich,

    Should have noted the Atlanta exhibit is a much longer and more detailed; they have it broken up into about 10 or 15 separate videos / displays. The Lincoln version is kind of a Cliff Notes variation by comparison.

  34. - Richard Afflis - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 12:16 pm:

    took my twin five-year olds last May. They loved it. I feel it is more than worth the trip.
    I just had to smile at the exhibit of the Lincoln law office with the kids misbehaving and tearing the place up. that hit home:)

  35. - zatoichi - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 12:17 pm:

    Have been there several times. Terrific museum that stays very enjoyable on repeat visits. Last time, I touched some item on a wall that set off a beeper. My son still reminds to keep my hands in my pocket.

  36. - ZC - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 12:21 pm:

    They did a great job with it.

    If I can find any nits with it, maybe they put a -bit- too much of a heroic glow over Lincoln … but it’s his museum, after all, and it’s one that is supposed to be a place for the family and the kids to come to. It’s an impressive accomplishment.

  37. - Blue Dog - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 12:23 pm:

    No & I don’t plan on ever going. Growing up in Springfield, I’ve had so much of the Lincoln “legend” shoved down my throat, that as an adult I avoid any of the Lincoln / Jebediah Springfield sites.

    Then you have the millions of tax dollars used to build the thing and keep it running. How much overrun & trouble was there with the HVAC & connected contractors? There is no way taxpayers ever recoup their investment in this elephant.

    I realize I’m in the extreme minority on this one, but you asked for an explanation.

  38. - Casual Observer - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 12:29 pm:

    It was very wise to get Richard Norton Smith to bring it over the top. That’s his niche and nobody does a pres. Library better. I like the small log cabin with Lincoln reading by the fire. My kids realized our house isn’t that small after all.
    However, if you are into the civil war, Gettysburg is a must. Talk about ghosts, the experience can leave you speechless.

  39. - Skirmisher - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 12:37 pm:

    There are some very interesting exhibits at the place, but what the museum presents is the popular caricature version of Lincoln (What I call the “Classics Illustrated Lincoln”). It does not delve much into his legal career and the resulting impacts on his politics, and considerably sanitizes his racial views. The museum was geared to engage and educate 15-year old minds, and that it does pretty well. But it is popular history that it presents.

  40. - flea - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 12:46 pm:

    This is a fabulous world class museum. I have taken numerous visiting dignitaries, trading partners, and traveling friends to see the museum. They are all dutifully impressed. We are lucky to have this in Springfield.

  41. - muon - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 12:52 pm:

    There are places to add to an itinerary if you have time. There are places to definitely see if you are in the vicinity. And then there are places that are worth going out of one’s way to see. The Lincoln Museum is in that last category, and even better is that it works for children as well as adults.

  42. - Anon - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 12:55 pm:

    Been there 4 times. Loved it every time. One of the best museums ever. I’d recommend it to anyone.

  43. - Capitol View - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 1:18 pm:

    Great presidential museum - a must see for everyone going to or through Illinois.

    About the Ford museum, which I also liked and respected — I asked why they didn’t have acopy of the document that made Ford president, the resignation of Richard Nixon delivered to his Secretary of State. The Ford folks researched it and sent me a copy! Perhaps they have it now in their gift shop..

  44. - Sangamo Sam - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 1:30 pm:

    I have been several times. The place is truly amazing. One of Springfield’s gems.

    And to Blue Dog @ 12:23 pm:

    If it weren’t for Lincoln, Taylorville would be that larger city to the east and you’d be making your weekend shopping trips to Decatur to stock up on HVAC supplies and flannel shirts.

  45. - Anon. - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 1:36 pm:

    I have been there several times and it is very worthwhile. Anyone who thinks that today’s politics are excessively partisan and vicious should go to the Whispering Gallery and see how things used to be (and be grateful that we have Mr. Miller to keep everyone honest).

  46. - Tweed - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 1:41 pm:

    No, but I really want to. I hear nothing but good things.

  47. - anonymoose - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 1:48 pm:

    I love the place. I traveled from up north to be there the first day ALPM opened to the public. Have ticket #1…the very first ticket sold at the museum and an ALPM letter dated October 2005 documenting that fact. Please go to the ALPM. Multiple times.

  48. - Adam Smith - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 1:53 pm:

    Ever see anything on CapFax that EVERYONE seems to agree on???

    I love the library/museum. My kids are huge Lincoln fans, in part, due to visiting. It touches the spirit of every American, conservative or liberal, or neither.

    It makes a trip to Springfield just for the Museum/Home/Tomb visit worthwhile.

  49. - Dirty Red - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 1:55 pm:

    I’ll never forget the first time I laid eyes on the slave auction scene.

  50. - Siriusly - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 1:58 pm:

    Fantastic museum. I’ve been there twice and still need to go again.

    The only downside is that it highlights how little else there is to downtown for visitors. Very difficult to build an entire tourism industry around one awesome museum and three historic sites.

  51. - MrJM - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 2:08 pm:

    I have not, but I pledge to do so post haste.

    – MrJM

  52. - Joan P. - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 2:14 pm:

    I was very impressed. Frankly, before I went, everything I’d read about it led me to believe that it would be “Disney-fied”. But not so.

    I definitely agree that the display OneMan mentions is one of the best I’ve seen in a history museum. And every time I hear someone (including myself!) moan about the lack of civil discourse in politics, I try to remember the exhibit showing the attacks on Lincoln. Plus ça change . . .

  53. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 2:22 pm:

    I have not been to the museum, but it’s a must-go. One day the wife and I will have to go there to see about the life of one of the greatest statespeople in history.

    I usually go to Springfield only for demonstrations and union conventions. I must say that the hotel staff and other locals are very friendly. That’s one of my favorite things about Springfield, the locals.

  54. - Marty McFly - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 2:31 pm:

    I checked out the new exhibit today. I found it very enjoyable!

  55. - one of the 35 - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 2:33 pm:

    Been there several times. Now that my two grandsons are old enough I can’t wait to take them.

  56. - VTTK17A1 - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 2:48 pm:

    One of the best anywhere. Well worth the visit.

  57. - Joe Bidenopolous - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 2:52 pm:

    Been to the museum several times and think it’s just a fantastic showcase and truly world class. The library is more mundane but has an absolute trove of treasures as well. Really, the museum and the Dana Thomas house are the two best attractions in Springfield by a wide wide wide margin, IMO

  58. - Sgt Schultz - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 2:55 pm:

    Was there the day it opened and again a few months ago with my brother. It is truly awe inspiring.

  59. - austinman - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 3:12 pm:

    I love it, it’s a hidden gem, learned a lot.

  60. - Arthur Andersen - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 3:25 pm:

    We’re lucky to have it. Never fails to impress out of town visitors, some who have visited other Presidential museums.
    The political cartoon/critic area is my personal favorite.

  61. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Friday, Jan 17, 14 @ 4:10 pm:

    The last time I was in Springfield it didn’t exist. I planned to meet my Dad in Springfield for a weekend of Lincoln, but then he got his diagnosis and died last year. I don’t think I can do it just yet without him but someday I will.

    If you’ve never been to the Lincoln Birthplace, it’s well worth the trip. I noticed the last time I was there the park rangers have stopped calling the log cabin *the* cabin Lincoln was born in and started saying it was a cabin *like* the one Tom and Nancy Lincoln would have had at the time.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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