While we were visitng St. Louis earlier this month, my mother-in-law offered to watch four-year-old E. while my husband and I had some time to ourselves. Leave it to us to plan a date involving a two-hour drive to Springfield, Illinois!
I highly recommend the fairly-new Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Opened in 2005, it features a wide range of exhibits that cover Lincoln’s life from his boyhood in Kentucky to his presidency and the Civil War. What makes this museum great is that it focuses on the humanness of both President Lincoln and his wife.
I was particularly moved by one room of the museum that focused on the death of Willie, Lincoln’s 11 year old son. It made me view Lincoln, an iconic American hero, as an actual person. The exhibit noted that Lincoln once granted an official presidential pardon to one of his son’s toy soldiers. Most parents can relate to that; many of us have suspended our own belief for the sake of our children, and I loved learning that President Lincoln was real father.
The museum draws you into it’s own world, with a replica White House that holds the majority of the exhibits on Lincoln’s adulthood. I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon in Springfield!
The Lincoln President Library and Museum:
112 N. Sixth Street
Springfield, IL 62701