Visiting the Abraham Lincoln Museum

Photo Credit: Photo by: Jim Whitfield

2011 is the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.

Of course, the President most associated with the Civil War is Abraham Lincoln.

This being President's Day and all, we decided to take a drive to Springfield and check out the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

It's just a little ways down the road, no matter where you live in the Tri-States.

"We take it for granted. It's good to come here and get a refresher course.

Phil Funkenbusch tells KHQA one of his favorite parts of the Looking for Lincoln Celebration two years ago was the re-enactment of the Lincoln and Douglas Debate in Quincy's Washington Park. Now, admittedly, I didn't see that re-enactment, and this was my first trip to the museum and it's been opened since 2005. And I was really impressed.

How much time you spend with the Lincoln Family is up to you. Funkenbusch tells me some people come and spend two hours if they're in a hurry. Others spend four to six hours, even all day. You can follow Lincoln from his humble beginnings in a log cabin in Kentucky all the way to the White House.

Being here is remembering that Abraham Lincoln was a real person, and he spent time in this area.

"People come away with a little different feeling. They know him a little better. You see some of the real Lincoln here. It's an emotional museum. You'll see people in tears here. It takes you back sometimes. It makes you remember what we bring with us when we come to a place like this," says Funkenbusch.

Our cameras weren't allowed in a good portion of the museum, but that's to make sure we don't show you all there is to see here.

"We just have so many things here for people. It's a place you can come to several times, and you're going to see something new," says Funkenbusch.

Exhibits change every eight to nine months. The museum is already gearing up for its fall exhibit which focuses on Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant.

"You have to come back as frequently as you can because we have thousands of artifacts in the vault, and so we bring them up because they can't be out in the open all the time, says Funkenbusch."

The museum is open seven days a week and is only closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.

Something else this museum offers that you might not see in other presidential museums is technology.

This place has some of the most state of the art special effects you'll see on the planet.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is a short day trip away in Springfield, Illinois.

A lot of people think it's a hidden gem in the center of the state that many who live nearby take for granted.

Here's has an inside look

It's easy to say, I want to check out the Lincoln Museum sometime, and just as easy to say I'll make time for it later.

Let me tell you, it's a place you should definitely go see.

It costs 12 dollars, and it's almost guaranteed to leave a lasting impression, mainly because of the technology that's built in.

"Each exhibit is very interactive. There's lots of visual and sound. You hear a lot through this museum," says Phil Funkenbusch.

It's called the first modern museum of the 21st Century. If you're like me, you probably don't think Lincoln and state of the art belong in the same sentence. But to be honest with you, the technology will blow you away, whether you're young or young at heart.

"It is for grandma and grandpa and it's for the little kids. What I love is the kids get dragged here sometimes and then they're blown away by the museum. And you see it, and it's really fun to watch the kids experience this museum," says Funkenbusch.

Some of the exhibits have live actors, others just speak for themselves. There are two shows that are a must see. One is eight minutes, and the other is just 17 minutes. Both are filled with special effects, created by a California company. Our cameras weren't allowed to show you some of the special effects, but I can tell you it's done with a lot of lighting tricks and even holograms. Some people even watch the shows multiple times on the same trip to the museum...and that's just the adults.

"We have a lot of things for kids. We have this Mrs. Lincoln's attic which is kind of a big toy room. Kids can wear costumes and there's all sorts of things there," says Funkenbusch.

You heard Phil Funkenbusch says sometimes the kids get dragged there, and then can't get enough of it. I saw that on my visit. Some of the kids were on a scavenger hunt looking for Lincoln stuff. Needless to say, I didn't see a single kid there that wasn't enjoying this museum.{>}

To learn more about visiting the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, visit the museum's website.