Discover the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln on a special trip to Springfield with Rend Lake College’s Institute for Learning in Retirement on Thursday, Sept. 29.
Let Roamin’ Ron guide you on “Springfield Tour: Lincoln Presidential Museum,” which begins with a stop at the Illinois State Capitol. State Rep. Kurt Granberg will join the group for an exclusive tour of the House Chambers and Governor’s Quarters. Enjoy lunch at Maldaner’s in downtown Springfield, followed by a visit to the Lincoln Presidential Museum. This new museum and library complex is absolutely wonderful and a must for all to see.
The Lincoln Presidential Museum is like no other presidential museum in the country. For the first time, visitors can literally walk through Lincoln’s life. It is the only place where people can experience his life in its entirety and begin to understand the man’s greatness. A fast-food stop will be made on the way home. Admission fees, lunch and charter bus transportation all are included in the fee of $69. Registration deadline is Thursday, Sept. 22. Pick-ups will be made at the Rend Lake College Student Center and the RLC Coffee Shop in Mt. Vernon.
According to the facility’s Web site, visitors to the Lincoln Presidential Museum complex will enter two state-of-the-art “exhibit journeys” off a 4,700-square-foot central plaza. Each journey makes a different time and aspect of Lincoln’s life come alive‚ from his modest beginnings to his assassination and funeral‚ deepening our appreciation and understanding for the man Henry Cabot Lodge called one of the “best great men and the greatest good men whom history can show.”
Journey One portrays Lincoln’s childhood up to his election as 16th president. It recreates his boyhood home as well as a harrowing New Orleans slave auction, his Springfield law office, the fiery Lincoln-Douglas debates and his departure for Washington in February 1861.
Journey Two begins in a towering reproduction of the White House as Lincoln would have known it. It includes scenes depicting Lincoln and First Lady Mary Todd at the deathbed of their son, Willie; Lincoln in the War Department Telegraph Office as he receives the daily casualty counts of the Civil War; the White House Kitchen where black servants are gossiping about the possibility of emancipation; the presidential box at Ford’s Theater; and finally, a 95 percent scale reproduction of the House Chamber in the Old State Capitol where Lincoln’s ornately draped casket lay in state before his interment in Springfield.
This is more than you-are-there-history. Experiences include:
· Ghosts of the Library – This spectacular Holavision show weaves an enchanting tale about the mystery and discovery awaiting the scholar in a great historical archive such as the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. During the presentation, high-tech special effects create misty, ghost-like visions of historical figures that share the stage with a live actor as viewers become part of a detective’s journey into the past.
· Campaign 1860 – This contemporary portrayal of the presidential race of 1860 features 30-second campaign commercials promoting each of that year’s four candidates.
· The Whispering Gallery – Negative campaigning is nothing new. This is a twisted, unsettling hallway where visitors hear brutally unkind things said about Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln during their early months in Washington. Cruel caricatures and harsh political cartoons attacking the presidential couple cover the walls of the gallery.
· The Emancipation Proclamation – A special effects “illusion corridor,” this exhibit features a gauntlet of dream-like images of people telling Lincoln what he should do. The compilation of varying, sometimes racist, opinions reminds visitors that Lincoln was leading a deeply divided nation. It also showcases the extraordinary courage it took to issue the Proclamation.
· Treasures Gallery – A soaring exhibit space that showcases many actual items that were a part of Lincoln’s life; the gallery offers visitors close-up views of Lincoln’s original handwritten Gettysburg Address, a signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, and personal effects such as Lincoln’s shaving mirror, Mary Todd’s music box and a recently donated presidential “briefcase,” among other treasures.
· Lincoln’s Eyes – In this dazzling special-effects theater presentation, an artist commissioned to create a portrait of Lincoln struggles to understand all the things he sees in Lincoln’s eyes – sorrow, resolve, hope, vision, forgiveness and more. The presentation wraps around the audience with special effects and multiple layered screens of digital projection.
· Ask Mr. Lincoln – This unique interactive theater is a chance to ask the 16th president a question and receive the answer in his own words.
Elsewhere in the museum visitors will find a children’s area called “Mrs. Lincoln’s Attic,” a restaurant, museum store and administrative offices. Both the library and museum have space available to rent for public or private events.
For more information, visit www.alplm.org.
The Institute for Learning in Retirement is an organization of retirement-age people who share a common interest in lifelong learning and cultural enrichment. No grades are given and there is no membership fee. Classes and trips are scheduled based on opinions voiced by senior adults in the community.