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A Look at Lincoln’s Presidential Library and Museum…2020

I had never been to a Presidential Library before, and always wondered what they looked like. Was it literally just a library of his favorite books? Books he wrote? Books about him? I had absolutely no clue so I was pretty excited to check this out.  Located in Springfield, Illinois, the Capital of Illinois, during Covid times you must make a reservation online for your tickets and time that you will be arriving. We live in a time of reservations, so my advice to you on anything you wish to see or attend, always look online first before planning on heading out. If you are wondering why they ask you to reserve, its too keep an account of how many people they can allow on the property at a given time.  Each State has its “Phases” on which so many people can gather together at one time, Illinois was at Phase 4 at the time this article was written which meant only 250 people or less can be in a given space at one time. Tickets were $30 per person and I chose the time of 9:30 a.m. to go.LincolnLib7Parking was easy, there is an underground lot right across from the Old Courthouse, and for the three hours I was there, it cost $10.50 to park there.  It was about a block from the Museum, but I only saw stairs to the street above, so check online for parking with an elevator if you’ll need one. I did see another parking garage across the street from Union Station. The downtown area was actually pretty quiet, didn’t feel like a city at all, Covid I am sure, but I didn’t feel stressed on finding the parking garage or the places. It had a very “chill” feeling to it. LincolnLib23I was SO excited to see this!  Abe is right out front, with a fellow man, standing proud and tall and looking over the Library (great photo opp here!).  I entered and they ask if you have tickets and a reservation, then you move on to Security where they check your bags, ask you Covid questions (hint, you should be answering NO to all) and then they also scan your forehead to check your temp. Ill give them thorough, that’s for sure!  Next they scanned my ticket on my phone and in I went!LincolnLib1Now maybe its because of the new guidelines, or that I was there early in the morning, but I felt like I had the place to myself.  I started in his infamous log cabin where he read book after book by the fire embers, thinking “this is so Disney.” The sights, the sounds, it was like I was watching “The American Adventure” at Epcot.  You learn about his childhood, his lawyer days, and most importantly, when he freed the slaves.  So it’s where you want to start with your tour, but ill tell you there is no rhyme or reason on how and what to do first, as their should be.  There are two films located on either side of the main exhibits, and honestly I figured they would be film like in school that just goes over the facts and you may or may not retain any of the information you just saw. BOY WAS I WRONG and glad I was!! A gentleman came up to me as I left Abes childhood area and told me that one of the films was starting. Hot dog, no wait, I am IN!  What I wasn’t prepared for was this show had a LIVE Actor in a 3D setting, very much like the Universal Studios set up they have for the Harry Potter attractions, except the guy was a real human being playing the part amongst the ghosts of Lincoln.  It was well done, and after the show, the guy told me that a DISNEY IMAGINEER worked on the Library and Museum….yep, I KNEW it! LincolnLib3LincolnLib4LincolnLib21LincolnLib5LincolnLib7LincolnLib8LincolnLib6LincolnLib10The next show then was about to start, so I headed on to that one (very short walk across the rotunda) and this felt like I was in “Muppets 3D” (and yes all of you Disney nerds just heard that in Kermit’s voice- yeah I know you LOL).  It had the loud noises, the seats that rumble, and everything you would find at Muppets, Philharmagic, and Captain EO. It was a FANTASTIC show!! The loud noises did make me jump pretty good so if you have little ones that scare easily, you may want to sit this one out. It was informative and honestly I wish I had watched BOTH shows before I toured the first exhibit. It explains things so much easier and you have less to read amongst the Museum.LincolnLib18Once both shows were done (they are both pretty short) I headed into the White House were the First family stands outside for a photo opp with them.  The White House area takes about an hour to walk through, the political cartoons alone take some time to read- they were BRUTAL to him! It walks through his political career, his children passing away, and it all leads up to his death. In the last room, they have recreated what his lying in state would have looked like.  The music, the casket, the flowers, and the ambiencechokes you up and it is a beautiful way to end the tour.LincolnLib13LincolnLib15LincolnLib10LincolnLib12LincolnLib14LincolnLib11LincolnLib20LincolnLib15LincolnLib17LincolnLib14LincolnLib22I absolutely LOVED this place- and funny enough, the “Library” part is more located across the street in another building that they only use for research- its not open to the public. I know, right?!? The only books I found were located in the Gift Shop, and of course, right next to the shirts, mugs, and everything Abe.  There brand is “I Miss Abe” and all I could think was, me too. I wound up buying a sweatshirt, stickers, magnet, and a candy stick because when you see a place selling candy sticks, you need to buy one, it’s the law.  Prices were reasonable (I am so used to Disney prices that I just about die when I see things that are cheaper) and they also sold cold drinks here for on the way out for more touring. On a hot day, you’ll want an Abraham Lincoln bottle of water.  The sarcastic ass in me thought to myself they are probably Abe’s tears from the grave over our Nation right now.LincolnLib11Before leaving the Museum, they have an Information booth which I HIGHLY recommend you check out. The reason being is that they have a list posted of everything that is OPEN on that day for the rest of the Lincoln attractions around town. A GREAT thing to know before you get all excited to see something and it’s closed or you lost out on the available reservations.  This is where I found out that I needed to RESERVE my tour of Lincoln’s tomb. Yes, you heard me, I had to RESERVE a spot to see his grave. Fun times we are living in. Thankfully I got a spot (Booked on EventBrite), but lost out on seeing one of the older homes in town. My advice is to pick your dates early and book all your times before leaving home. Like I said, the Presidential Library/Museum took me 3ish hours to tour, so keep that in mind when reserving other things in town.  Oh they also have a MAP at the INFO booth of all his stops, his home, etc.. around town that is quite a valuable resource. On one side is the downtown area, and the other side are the sights in Springfield in general. GREAT for the adventurer and the geographically impaired like myself.LincolnLib2I cannot stress enough how beautiful and amazing this place was, and I HIGHLY recommend it for the family, or anyone who would love to know more about that tall drink of water, Ole Abe himself, enjoy! Check out the next Lincoln spot HERE! Enjoy!

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