Now, don’t get us wrong, we like Lincoln, and it’s cool that both Indiana and Illinois love Lincoln so much. But, by the time we’d gotten near the Missouri line, we’d pretty much gotten our fill of the tall man with the funny beard.
In fact, we were actually planning to skip this exhibit; especially when we found out it would cost $12 per person. Soon after we handed over the cash, however, we realized what Illinois and Indiana have been trying to tell us.
The Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is BY FAR the coolest historical museum we’ve visited so far… and maybe ever. It perfectly and interactively expresses the importance and struggles of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency. It takes visitors on a journey through our nation’s most tumultuous years, through the eyes of a man so noble, so steadfast and so special as to have saved our nation at the expense of his own life and ultimately his own happiness.
Our tour began with what the museum calls “Journey Two” which is a room-by-room tour of Lincoln’s White House years and is absolutely stunning.
The entrance to the Lincoln White House years is a detailed replica of the White House featuring life sized statues of the entire Lincoln family, But this is no wax museum.
In one room called the “Whispering Gallery” hushed voices whisper horrible things about the president and his wife. On the walls are off-center, abstracted and downright frightening editorial cartoons that show that today’s politicians have it easy when compared to the Lincoln detractors – many of whom portrayed him as ignorant and even sometimes as the devil himself.
Another gallery in the exhibit takes you from Lincoln’s White House office where he has just shared with his staff the Emancipation Proclamation. You can see the tension in the faces of his cabinet as each of them are said to have supported but questioned the potential result of the proclamation on the war (which had already started, and the North was losing ground).
From there you walk into “Illusion Hall”, a mirrored corridor leading to Lincoln’s Oval Office where ghostly projected images yelling their opinions about the proclamation to you as if you were Lincoln. The hall Is designed to show you the passion, fear, disagreement and even for some of the voices, hatred these people had for Lincoln.
The Civil War in four minutes, only a few steps away rolls non-stop battle lines depicting each week (as one second) in the war. Many visitors sat and watched this film a number of times as it brings home the horrible toll the War waged on Americans.
The exhibits continue through the end of the war and his untimely death in Ford’s Theatre as well as an small hallway display called the Faces of Lincoln which provide photographic evidence of Lincoln’s accelerated aging through his short four years as chief executive.
This is a must see presentation in a must see presidential museum that also includes Lincoln’s life before the presidency and two movies projected in three dimension. Don’t miss it. For more information visit here: http://www.alplm.org/