Last Easter, I got a tad overly enthuasiastic about Easter egg decoration, so this year I saved my geeky freak out for something truly deserving: The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield, IL.

If you’ve been to many a museum, as I have, you know the difference between a museum that fosters conversation, presents controversial history maturely, appeals to different learning styles, and makes academic content seem fresh and exciting, and a museum that is essentially a bunch of laminated post-it notes. This museum was most definitely the former.

Take a minute and guess how many people died in the Civil War, both sides combined. Perhaps this figure was imprinted on your brain in elementary school, but I missed the boat on the sheer magnitude of death. My guess would have been about 200,000 (which seems astronomically high). The actual tally is about 1.3 million. MILLION. And to make that number stick in your heart and not just your head, you sit on a bench and watch a four minute play-by-play as the body count climbs into six, then seven digits. It’s brutal, but effective.

To understand the election of 1860, the late Tim Russert explains the four candidates and their platforms in contemporary terms. There are even faux campaign ads.

And the wax figurines! Creepy? A bit, but also amazing! Some photos to capture the trip:

Sojourner Truth's awesome wax hands

There was a whole gallery of political cartoons

"Mary is the most preposterous looking female I never saw. She looks like a damned old Irish washerwoman dressed out for a Sunday"

Lincoln lounging in his law office. Reminds me of my dad.

Related Post: Patriot’s Day in MA. 

Related Post: How NOT to teach eighth grade history.



Filed under Chicago, Education, Politics

3 responses to “Lincoln

  1. Amazing! My dad’s whole family lives in Springfield, IL, so I have spent many hours at the Lincoln Museum, being confused and alarmed by the wax figurines — but totally agree, that part where they tally the Civil War deaths is unbelievably moving and well done.

  2. Pingback: Blue for the Union, Grey for the Confederacy, Pink for the Girls | rosiesaysblog

  3. Pingback: It Starts Early | rosiesaysblog

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