Sunday, 4 November 2012

Our Trip To Springfield: Saturday

On Saturday we went to the Abraham Lincoln Museum. This museum is absolutely worth the trip. The story telling in the exhibits was captivating, the use of artifacts, manuscripts, and historical scenes engaging, and the narrative they constructed of Lincoln's life was more nuanced than other presidential libraries I have visited (cough, Nixon, cough). If you go you will be pleased that you did. It is an extraordinarily high-quality museum, and arranged very well to manage the flow of people through exhibits and to allow you to learn new and fascinating things about Lincoln's life.

Our guide-book said to allow 3 1/2 hours to view it, so we didn't rush there first thing in the morning. That was a mistake. There is so much to see and do there. We saw an exhibit on Lincoln's early years, one on his White House years, one on weapons and medicine in the Civil War, two Lincoln shows, a kid's play area, and a collection of Lincoln "treasures." I am fairly certain we did everything there was to do in the museum. It was a lot, but the kids were champs. Nic got a little fussy at the end and fell asleep in the stroller, but Tommy was absolutely fascinated by Lincoln and his family. He is still talking about Lincoln, drawing him, asking about his kids, and discussing his death. If you are going to go to the museum be forewarned that there is a significant amount of death involved in Abe's life. He lost his mom when he was nine, buried two children, and of course, was assassinated. The museum does not mince words, so be prepared to answer some hard questions. This is also true in regards to slavery. Tommy has not quite connected all the dots on this one. We have explained it in a simple way and begun to teach him about it, but he is too young to understand all of the implications of slavery at this point so we didn't have to answer too many questions about it, but I imagine that if he were a few years older the trip would have brought up even more difficult discussions.

Now, I know some of you may be a little doubtful about my assessment of the museum. You might be thinking, "of course you thought it was good because you love history." It is true that I love history more than probably 99% of the population, and that I enjoy myself at some pretty terrible history museums (ask my siblings how many times I have forced them to visit the museum in Kernville), but trust me on this, the Lincoln Presidential Museum is excellent. If you have ever enjoyed yourself at a history museum, you will be happy at this one.

The long day wiped us out and made us hungry. We tried to find someplace to eat near the museum, but Springfield is basically a ghost town on the weekends, so we ended up at Cracker Barrel, which was at least a novelty for my parents. We wrapped up the day with some special pool time for Tommy, and football with Papa time for Nic.

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