… you find yourself sleeping and canoodling with Lincoln.
It’s called the Land of Lincoln for a reason. There isn’t a town that doesn’t claim some connection with Abraham Lincoln as a youth, a circuit rider, a candidate or as president. (Even Oregonians can, apparently, claim him. The guide at Lincoln’s tomb told us that Lincoln had worked on soon-to-be-president Zachary Taylor ‘s campaign so diligently, that he offered Lincoln the governorship of the Oregon territory.) As a result, images of Lincoln and stories about Lincoln are just about everywhere. From places you’d expect them, like his tomb in Springfield, to places you wouldn’t, like, well, just about everywhere else.
A small sample…
You should be able to swipe the images above to see what comes next, or find a small arrow in the right and left margins of the picture above to see others. This is only a fraction of the plaques, pictures, bronzes, and associated Lincolniana that we’ve seen. You could spend a week seeing it all.
The Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum
Oh. My. Goodness. This is an impressive facility with a remarkable use of technology to enchant and teach. The combined use of audio and visual techniques to present the turbulent years of Lincoln’s presidency are used to breathtaking effectiveness.
There is a room with one wall covered with images of people who played a part in the Civil War. Using a touch screen, you can learn who they are and what role they had. Another section is set up as the cabinet room during the discussion of when to announce the Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln is surrounded by his cabinet and the life-sized figures, in active poses around the table, the cluttered room, make you feel like you’ve walked into a tense and turbulent conversation.
A series of rooms lined with pretty vicious political cartoons, in in ever more distorted frames, creates the feeling of the kinds of nasty distortions of fact, and the personal assaults on politicians and their families that have become so much a part of political life. Voices surround you with more nasty comments.
But it’s the jaw-dropping presentation by a “historian,” who explains the importance and value of a presidential archive such as this, that will leave you mesmerized. The museum has pulled out all the technological stops on this one. It was the fitting cap to our stop in Springfield.
P.S. For newsletter subscribers, a reminder that Chapter 7 of The Illinois Caper, first book in the Route 66 Steal series, is now online.