Want to learn all about Abraham Lincoln? The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum is seriously one of the best museums we’ve ever been to — and quite honestly we’ve been to ALOT! As one of the largest presidential museums at 50,000 sq. foot museum, make sure to spend a few hours here to absorb everything in at a relaxed pace. Using technology, the life of Lincoln has been brought to life.
Disclosure: A huge thank you to Visit Springfield and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum for providing complimentary tickets for my family. Read full disclosure policy here. Some links may be affiliate links.
Getting started at Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum
Parking was plentiful at the parking garage at the corner of Sixth and Madison Streets. Normally, there is a small fee but during our visit street parking and parking garages were free. It was a short walk to the main entrance on Jefferson Street. After getting our tickets inside,our temperatures were taken and security checked our bags. Large backpacks and drinks aren’t allowed so we had to stow it away along with our jackets in the locker. (Bring a quarter.)
Say hello to the Lincoln family
Right when you walk in you’re immediately greeted by the Lincoln family in the Plaza providing the perfect photo op.
Watch the shows
We followed the advice from one of the staff members and made sure to watch the two theater shows first. I’m SO glad we listened to him. It was the perfect primer for our Lincoln visit! The first show we watched Ghosts of the Library at the Holovision Theater was not only educational but interesting (and not scary!) From the moment it started until the end, my kids were captivated. After all, holograms are super cool!
Once the show was over, we then proceeded to the Union Theater to watch Lincoln’s Eyes. For 17 minutes, this show gives a brief overview of Lincoln’s life combined with multiple projection screens and special effects. (Note: It can get loud at some parts so prep the kids.)
Photos/videos are not allowed at the theaters.
After the shows, we continued our Lincoln journey by heading to the area Journey Part 1: Pre-Presidential Years. Here we learn about his humble beginnings – from his log cabin where he lived as a boy to the pivotal moment when he sees slavery for the first time. Other major moments like meeting Mary, a glimpse of fatherhood, his days as a lawyer and political career are also portrayed here. One thing we noticed right away is that this wasn’t our typical stale museum experience. Using technology, sound effects, and lighting, our senses were awakened. From the moment we stepped into his “cabin” and heard his dog snoring to the time we visited his law office to hear his boys giggling and running amuck, we felt like we were actually there.
Want to learn more about Lincoln’s childhood? Visit the Abraham Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial close to Santa Claus, Indiana. This is what sparked our love for Lincoln!
Lincoln as President
Next, we continued our Lincoln journey to the Executive Mansion (aka White House) as we moved to the Journey Part II: The White House. But first, we couldn’t help but gawk at the pretty dresses Mary and her social rivals wore.
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Next up, The Whispering Gallery. These political cartoons of Lincoln were such an eye opener. Who knew Lincoln had so many critics? My kids were quite aghast and thought these people were “so mean.”
At this point, we’re given an idea of the heavy burden that Lincoln carries. Not only did The Great Emancipator have critics but also goes through heartache as he experiences the loss of his son. We’re then taken to the Civil War era and that fateful day at Ford’s Theatre.
Other things to do at Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum
Visit the Treasures Gallery to find artifacts and relics from Lincoln’s era or watch the highlights of the museum at The Mr. Lincoln Theater. Although closed on our visit, kids will love Mrs. Lincoln’s Attics where kids see how life was like in the 19th century by trying on period clothing, playing games kids played with back then, exploring a replica of the Lincoln home, and more.
Final thoughts of Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum
If you are in Springfield, please allow yourself some time to experience this fantastic museum! Lincoln fan or not, this is one of best museums around!
Address: 212 N. 6th St., Springfield, IL
Cost: $15 adults; $6 children 5-15; free children 4 and under. Reservations required.
Parking: Street parking or the parking garage at the corner of Sixth and Madison Streets.
Stay tuned for more Springfield fun with the family!
Looking to learn more about Lincoln? These books were helpful to learn more about the Abraham before our visit.