Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day Two: Springfield, Illinois


In Springfield, Illinois, we visited the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, which was AMAZING! It exceeded all my expectations. This is not just another "boring" history museum but a museum that captivates it's audience. We started our tour by entering a log cabin that was much like the one he spent a portion of his childhood. This first "wing" of the museum shows Lincoln's life before becoming president. We learned about the his many jobs, his love for learning and his courtship with Mary Todd and his campaign in 1860.
Union Station
After learning much about Lincoln's pre-presidential years, we headed to the Holavision Theater for "Ghosts in the Library". Isaiah and I were in awe. I can't even find words to describe how fantastic this presentation was....far more than a documentary.

Catch'em off guard...only way to get a genuine smile. Look at that smile!
Of course, by this time The Boy was famished and wanted to eat at Subway before continuing on our Lincoln adventure. Luckily Subway was just down the hall. After eating "fresh", we stopped at Mrs. Lincoln's attic, which essentially is a children's play room filled with dress up clothes, toys, play kitchen and lincoln logs.
Never too old to build with Lincoln Logs























The Lincoln Family
Behind the Lincoln family lies the White House Years exhibits. One room shows Mary Lincoln sitting on the bed of her dying son, Willie, as President Lincoln peers in from the doorway. Another room shows Mary grieving her dead son. Knowing the love that a mother has for her children, I could imagine the pain that Mary felt.....and yes, I teared up a little. So many of the rooms showed the "realness" of the Lincolns. I gained not only knowledge about their life but felt a more personal understanding of what life may have been like for them.

My least favorite room, The Whispering Gallery, was full of political cartoons and caricatures of President Lincoln. The first few cartoons I viewed were laughable, meaning that I was able to laugh at the stupidity of the racist beliefs of the time. But many were so harshly cruel and the ignorance (mostly racist ideas) sickened me. I couldn't help but think about how our generation, and some of our ignorant ideals, will be viewed a hundred years from now.

The room that brought me to tears was the "Lying in State", a re-creation of the Representative Hall in Springfield's Old State Capitol. With the coffin displayed, I felt as if I had stepped back in time and was paying my respects to President Lincoln. I felt a great reverence, respect and sorrow for the man who created great change in our nation.

We finished our visit in The Union Theater viewing "Lincoln's Eyes" which was a perfect wrap up of what we had learned about Lincoln's life. The presentation was just as amazing as the rest of the museum. My words do so little in revealing what I learned but, even more importantly, what I felt as I looked at the life of President Abraham Lincoln. Truly incredible. I spent the rest of the afternoon driving towards and through Indiana pondering what I had seen and learned.

"My concern is not whether God is on our side;
my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right.” 
Abraham Lincoln

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