It was tremendously cool. A very nice mixture of new-fangled multi-media and artifacts with cards to read. Something for everyone.
One thing I liked was they had a model of the cabinet room, with figures of Lincoln and the cabinet members, with cards to read laying out each member’s view on the Emancipation Proclamation. Then you walked through a short hallway with videos of all the members on each side, and vigourously arguing their view. A cacaphony. That led to Lincoln behind his desk signing it.
There was also a nice thing with Tim Russert reporting on the election, with commercials from all four candidates. A interesting take on how it might be these days.
A collection of political cartoons and quotes showing that Lincoln was not beloved by all, some quite nasty and vicious. An interesting take on how some things never change.
Great artifacts. Lincoln’s shaving mirror. The Gettysburg Address. A bill to a client that he scratched out his rates and lowered them. The bloodstained gloves he had in his pocket at Ford’s Theatre. And so on, and so on. All with very well-written descriptions, very good on context of place and time.
I think this was a temporary exhibit: a collection of stuff from past presidential elections, showing the marketing of the candidates. There is nothing new under the sun. “Who is James T. Polk?” Some quite nice… well, toys, really. A sleeve with the elite Martin Van Buren drinking champagne and smiling, which when you pulled the insert changed to a scowling Van Buren drinking cider, the drink of the regular people’s W. H. Harrison. “Ma, Ma, where’s my Pa?” Lincoln didn’t, Washington wouldn’t, Roosevelt shouldn’t. (Re FDR, not Teddy) TV commercials for Eisenhower. Really, really informative.
It’s a very neat museum, an excellent, cool, interesting museum. If you’re passing by Springfield, Illinois, you should go. If you’re not passing by Springfield, Illinois, you should.