Monday, August 28, 2006
Honest, Abe's museum worth a look
On our way back to Dubuque on Sunday, Madame X and I stopped in Springfield, Ill., to check out the new (April 2005) Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.
We're Illinois natives, and while I am no expert on Lincoln, I have read a few biographies and several other articles about our 16th president. He is a fascinating and tragic figure in U.S. history -- someone who would be virtually unelectable in today's era of television-driven campaigns.
The museum is in downtown Springfield -- and it's easy to find by simply following the road signs from I-55. There is a dollar-an-hour parking ramp a half-block from the museum entrance.
We took in both of the multimedia programs -- the high-tech Holavision show "Ghosts of the Library" as well as "Lincoln's Eyes" -- looked at the Gettysburg Address manuscript, dawdled through the First Ladies' dress exhibit and generally took in all there was to see.
And if people think the editorial cartoonists today are tough on George W. Bush, they should see the display of the vicious anti-Lincoln cartoons published by Confederate-state newspapers and journals.
We stayed three hours, and that was comfortable. We easily could have stayed longer, and read more of the descriptions at displays. But a visitor with only two hours would not feel terribly shortchanged.
I would list only two "negatives" -- and one is probably unavoidable. It was difficult -- nearly impossible -- for visitors to read most of the rare documents on display because the rooms were so dark, apparently to prevent damaging them through exposure to the light. The other issue, however, was avoidable: The thermostat was set too darn low! Brrrrr! The next time we visit, we'll take a jacket or sweatshirt -- yes, even in August.
This visitor's evaluation: The Lincoln Museum is worth the price of admission ($7.50, by the way).