Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois has a campus consisting of three buildings: the museum, the presidential library, located across the street from the museum, and the old Union Station building, which houses a visitor center and some exhibits. In addition to housing documents pertaining to the sixteenth president, his family, and administration, the Illinois State Historical Library collection also resides there. The Library and Museum is not affiliated with the National Archives and Records Administration as other presidential libraries are, instead, it operates as an independent state agency. Located in the heart of Illinois’s state capital, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is one of the most visited presidential libraries in the country.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield
Statues of the Lincoln Family in the Plaza Area of the Lincoln Library & Museum
The War Gallery Exhibit
Inside the Archives of the Library
One of the Immersive Experiences Depicting Lincoln's Youth
Backstory and Context
Located in Illinois’s capital of Springfield and covering an entire block downtown, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum tells the story of the nation’s sixteenth president. Born in Kentucky, Lincoln (1809-1865) first moved to Springfield in 1837 to practice law. In 1846, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and returned to Springfield after serving one term. The Lincoln Tomb, located in Springfield’s Oak Ridge Cemetery, is the final resting place of Lincoln, his wife Mary, and three of their sons.
The Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum opened in 2005, and the museum itself covers 50,000 square feet, making it the largest presidential museum in the nation. Featuring exhibits and theaters with special effects, the museum combines digital technology, historical items, and storytelling to bring history to life. The state-of-art museum was designed by BRC Imagination Arts, who worked in close alliance with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and established Lincoln historians.
The museum has, along with two high-tech shows that are about both Lincoln and the presidential library across the street, three exhibits that take visitors on a journey from Lincoln's frontier background to his days in the White House and the aftermath of his assassination. One of the key exhibits is the Emancipation Proclamation Illusion Corridor. Down the corridor, ghost-like faces appear between columns, shouting advice to the president to showcase how controversial the Emancipation Proclamation was. Finally, Lincoln can be seen at the end of the hallway, first debating and then signing the critical document.
On display throughout the museum are such items as his stovepipe hat, Mary Lincoln's music box, and uniforms of Civil War soldiers from both the Union and Confederacy. There is also a rotating exhibit and a film where Lincoln answers questions based on quotes from his speeches and writings. At the center of the building is the Plaza, an open space where all the areas of the museum may be accessed from. In the Plaza, visitors see replicas of the log cabin Lincoln spent his childhood in, the White House South Portico, and statues of the Lincoln family.
The Lincoln Presidential Library is home to the world's largest collection of texts and artifacts relating to Lincoln, covering his personal life and career in politics. Along with thousands of books written on the president, the library also has many of his letters, speeches, and writings. The magnificent collection also includes a copy of the Gettysburg Address, one of only five that has been known to exist. In addition, the library houses books, relics, and other important items pertaining to the history of Illinois, as well as a vast amount of genealogical records.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum impactfully and artistically tells the story of one of America's most influential and beloved presidents. Every year, thousands of people visit the museum to learn about the man who called Springfield his home. This is a site that is not only important for preserving the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, but for preserving the history of Illinois. It is no wonder that this captivating presidential library and museum is consistently ranked as one of the top museums in the country.
What's Inside...The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. July 7th, 2009. Accessed May 8th, 2023. https://www.lincolnlibraryandmuseum.com/.
Emancipation Proclamation - Illusion Corridor, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Accessed May 9th, 2023. https://www.lincolnlibraryandmuseum.com/emancipation-proclamation/.
Lincoln Tomb, Visit Springfield Illinois. Accessed May 9th, 2023. https://www.visitspringfieldillinois.com/LocationDetails/?id=Lincoln-Tomb.
History.com Editors. Abraham Lincoln, History. January 28th, 2022. Accessed May 9th, 2023. https://www.history.com/topics/us-presidents/abraham-lincoln.
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Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
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