By Sally Pyne
As the days of summer wane, you might be looking for at least one more experience, perhaps even a “bucket list” item to do. “Stay-cations” can be very satisfying and there are so many things to do that are very close to home. Sometimes it takes an “outside eye” to help us focus on these things.
My very best friend, Mary, joined me to celebrate my 60th birthday the end of July. Two things she wanted to do while here were to see my parents, and re-visit the Lincoln Heritage Museum. We were able to join my folks for dinner—check! Have you been to the Lincoln Heritage Museum?
“Oh sure, the one in Springfield, right?” WRONG! That is the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, and NOT what I am writing about. I am very surprised that so many folks here in Mclean County know nothing about the Lincoln Heritage Museum in Lincoln, on the campus of Lincoln College. It is located in the Lincoln Center on the northeast edge of campus near Historic Route 66. It is the same building where the Lynx play basketball and the school holds their Commencements.
The first floor has many of the static items from their Lincoln collection and you will want to wander through those. However, the truly amazing experience is the second floor “immersive A/V experience: Through audio-video presentations, object reproductions, attractive graphics, and realistic 19th-century room recreations” you get a chance to see Abe’s life “flash before his eyes” at the moment of his assassination. This “life review” of his experiences and memories takes you through his life as he saw it, as well as the recollections of many of his family and friends. You touch objects as they light up to view video and still images and hear voices from the past narrate the scenes using authentic first-person accounts. The tour is self-guided and lasts approximately one hour and 15 minutes. But it seems much quicker! It is recommended that children junior-high age and older are best suited for this experience, as it can be very dark and some scenes may frighten younger children.
Please make your plans to visit, and be sure and “friend” them on Facebook. Anne E. Moseley is the Director and Curator and has been part of this museum since its invention. You will find it remarkable. There are many other activities in Lincoln that I don’t hear about in McLean County as well. The recent “Wide Awake” parade in Lincoln Commemorates the party that continued to support Lincoln through his efforts to abolish slavery. This year’s Abraham Lincoln National Railsplitting Festival is September 15th & 16th. So, as we draw this speedy summer to a close, slow it down a wee bit by taking the time to experience some of the gems we have so close to home, like the Lincoln Heritage Museum.
You can access hours and additional details through their website: https://museum.lincolncollege.edu/visit/
Dr. Sally Pyne is a lifelong resident of Normal. She is a retired educator and served both Illinois State University and Lincoln College Normal. Her husband Ed owns the Normalite newspaper as well as seven other weeklies in McLean County.
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