Today we got up, ready for our first sight-seeing adventure. First order of the day was breakfast. At home, we don’t go out for breakfast very often because it just isn’t practical. But with a Starbucks and a Panera Bread within a block of the apartment…a special Sunday breakfast was in order. Katrina and I went out to fetch our ‘gourmet’ breakfast and on the way saw the local residents out walking their children!
I wish I had a better camera so I could have zoomed in better. Maybe for my birthday in July…Anyway, we were very tickled to see the cute goslings and their parents.
After our breakfast, Katrina had a bout of homesickness hit. She had a bit of a meltdown. We gave her some time, then when she was calm, we headed on down the road.
Springfield is only about 1 hour south of where we are and the Abraham Lincoln Museum and Library was very easy to find. If you would like to read more about it, you can visit their website.
First we had our picture taken with the first family in front of the White House. As you can see President Lincoln is quite tall. About 6’5″.
Then we went back in time. The children were delighted to see Young Abe enjoying one of their favorite pasttimes…reading a good book!
We toured through the one room cabine that Abe grew up in. We learned that he almost drowned when he was 7 and that when he was 9, he was kicked in the head by a horse and ‘apparently died for awhile’. His mother died that same year. We learned that as a young man he developed a love for a young lady, but she subsequently died and his grief was so great a friend took his pocket knife away from him.
We watched a film called “Lincoln’s Eyes”. It was well done and captured the children’s attention with strobe lighting, explosions and vibrating chairs. Also, the changing visuals were very interesting. I was also pleased to see that throughout the museum, they told a pretty balanced story of Lincoln and really empahsized the fact that while he is looked up on now as a great hero, that there were many from the North as well as the South who didn’t like him when he was President. As we perused editorial cartoons, I was reminded of similarities to what I see with President Bush now.
We sat through a commentary by Tim Russert where he discussed the four political candidates running for President in 1860. It was very interesting (and entertaining to see the political advertisements they created for each candidate.) As we went through the White House years, we were saddened to learn that President and Mrs. Lincoln had lost their second son (One son had died of TB when he was three). Their second son died of typhoid fever when he was 11. This second death is said to have left both parents in great grief and in many ways Mrs. Lincoln never recovered. It was said that every Thursday (Willie died on a Thursday), that President Lincoln would go to his room and mourn him.
We learned that throughout his time in office, Mrs. Lincoln was unable to gain support of the elite of Washington and the people. She was put down for her ‘less cultivated ways’ and she was criticized for spending money on more suitable clothing and fixing up the White House. Truly between a rock and a hard place. Katrina and I enjoyed looking at some of the lovely dresses of the time.
There was a wall of portraits that I would have liked to spent more time looking at (the museum was very busy and you had the feeling that if you stayed too long, you were being rude to others). We are so spoiled by the fact that we normally go to museums during the week. Anyway, they had computer screens set up with the photos that were on the wall. You could touch a photo on the computer screen, then it would get larger and you could read who the picture was of. That was very interesting. There was one photo of an emaciated Union soldier who was being kept in a Confederate prison. It rivaled pictures I have seen of World War II Concentration Camp Prisoners.
The children spent some time in Mrs. Lincoln’s attic. A room set up for children to dress up in period clothing. Cook in a period kitchen. Play with a lovely doll house. And play with toys for the mid to late 1800s. As you can see by the pictures below, the children really enjoyed the attic:
Lastly was an exhibit of past Presidential races and it showed the different slogans, buttons, and pamphlets that past campaigners had used. It was very interesting. Lastly we watched a Holovision performance about the Ghosts of the library. It was very well done and left chills.