A story in today's CWi (The Civil War in Four Minutes) made me think of my visit to the Lincoln Museum in Springfield, IL shortly after it opened. Prior to our visit, I had heard and read a lot of negative comments about the museum being to high tech and too much like Disney World. We couldn't have been more pleased however during our visit. The displays were numerous and very well done, many in the traditional style you would find in any other museum.
As far as the use of computers and other "high-tech" displays, again we were blown away (almost literally in one theater by cannon fire). I also feel that such displays get the younger generation intersted in history and that is never a bad thing. The "Civil War in Four Minutes" and "The Ghosts of the Library" were favorites of ours. We are lucky enough to live only an hour south of Springfield and plan to visit it again this winter.
I know there are several members on this board from the Land of Lincoln. If any of you have been to the museum, I would love to hear what you thought. If you haven't been, I would recommend a visit.
I too was hoping someone would coment regarding this museum. I'd be curious to hear other opinions.
I can remember when the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg first opened. It received the same sort of criticism - too "high-tech" and snazzy. We LOVED it. Flat-screen plasma TV's, the latest in robotics, etc. I understand that many of us have very fond memories of the old-style static type museum, and they certainly have their place. But if the study of the war is to maintain its relevance, then it does have to attract the younger audience. If we stay stuck in the old ways, it'll only be us old farts paying attention. Just my 2 cents...
The museum was awesome. I don't know if I can use enough adjectives.
The Civil War in Four Minutes was a great presentation. It's hard to describe, but basically it's a digital map showing the war chronologically from beginning to end. The parts that are controlled by the Union and the Confederacy are color coded. As time progresses, you see the dates go by. When a particular date comes up, say, October 8th, 1862, it will highlight Perryville, Kentucky. As the Union grabs more land, the parts of the map they control turn to blue. Obviously, by the end of the war, the whole map is blue. (At least I think they used blue for the Union.)
"Lincoln's Eyes" was another great "show." That's probably where the previous poster heard the loud sounds of cannon fire.
When I was there, they had a temporary exhibit entitled, "Blood on the Moon." The carriage that Abe and Mary road in his last moments was on display, as were many other great historical artifacts.
There is another set of displays that follows Lincoln's life, through his death. I can't begin to describe the last scene. It includes a reproduction of Lincoln's catafalque. The room is darkened and you can hear slow, sad music playing in the background. You ALMOST feel as if you are seeing the last viewing of Abraham Lincoln in death. No one spoke a word as we walked through that room. There were a lot of squirrelly high schoolers at the museum, but none of them walked thru at the same time as me, so I don't know if they walked thru quietly or not.
If you go, plan on spending at least 3 hours there. The library side seems to be just for research.