Even thought it's not in my mom's presidential library passport, we couldn't pass by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum without stopping by. I wish we would have had a bit more time to enjoy all of the other historical sites nearby, but I'm so glad we at least got to see the museum.
When you arrive at the museum, kids can get a clipboard to become a detective for the day. In the plaza, you can see the Lincoln family and access all of the exhibits. There is a penny somewhere in the plaza and if kids find it, they get to keep it!
Mrs. Lincoln's Attic
One of our favorite places in the museum was Mrs. Lincoln's Attic. My youngest was the perfect size for all of the dress up clothes, and the old toys and games were so much fun to play with.
Log Cabin Living
The first zone to tour is the log cabin area. This highlights Lincoln's pre-presidential years. It's really incredible to see how Lincoln invested in his education and put his knowledge to work for his community.
From the time Lincoln was born until the time he became president, the country had more than doubled in size. Slavery exploded across the south, and Lincoln feared that Douglass was trying to nationalize slavery. When the election year came up, the opinions on this issue were very different, and therefore four men ended up on the ballot together. A imaginary broadcast lays out the challenges of this election as it analyzes each of the candidates in the election that Lincoln won.
Lincoln in the White House
The second major tour zone covers Lincoln's White House years. It's always fascinating to see the timeline in which major developments hit our presidents. The civil war began only weeks after Lincoln took office. In that same time period, his son Willie also died. One thing I've found fascinating at each presidential library is how much each of them have critics. The press is relentless in tearing down our leaders. I know that they have the freedom to do that, but it doesn't always seem very balanced.
The president carries the weight of the troubles of the nation. You can see the struggle in Lincoln's office with his advisers as they contemplate the Emancipation Proclamation.
It is incredible to believe that our country has not experienced war on our own soil since the Civil War. I was truly thankful for that as we walked through the War Gallery and saw all of the men, women, and children that suffered in this terrible war.
Even though the war finally came to an end, there were still those out there that didn't like the outcome. One month after Lincoln's 2nd inaugural address, he was killed.
Seeing Through Lincoln's Eyes
There are two theaters in the museum that use state-of-the-art technology to present Lincoln not just as an iconic president, but also as a real man who faced troubles and wrestled with solutions. He grew up in challenging times and worked to keep our country free for everyone.
Although we didn't get to see much of the many Lincoln sites around Springfield, we did walk around a bit downtown and enjoy the shops and statues around.
There are some difficult topics in this museum because Lincoln dealt with some major challenges in his presidency. I felt like the museum did a wonderful job of presenting the information and we were all so thankful we made the stop!
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.