Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum Opens with Four-Day Public Celebration

New Attraction Reinvents the Presidential Museum with Unparalleled Size,

Originality and Educational Promise

Feb 09, 2005, 00:00 ET from Illinois State Office of the Governor

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Feb. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Illinois Governor Rod
 Blagojevich today announced the schedule of activities for the grand opening
 of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, which compellingly recreates "The
 Great American Story" of Abraham Lincoln's life through immersive exhibits
 that employ state-of-the-art technology never seen before in a presidential
     Four days of activities will mark the museum's arrival, culminating in a
 public dedication April 19 attended by the Governor and other prominent state
 and national figures.
     "The debut of this new world-class institution and the exploration of our
 shared national history give Springfield and Illinois ample reason to
 celebrate," said Gov. Blagojevich. "These festivities offer a tremendous
 opportunity to showcase the new museum for a national audience-and to raise
 the Land of Lincoln's profile in the process."
     The museum joins the already-open library as part of the Abraham Lincoln
 Presidential Library and Museum (ALPLM) complex in Springfield. Museum opening
 events begin on April 16 with "Looking for Lincoln," a two-day historical
 block party in downtown Springfield. The celebration will feature Lincoln era
 re-enactors, music, theater troupes, church choirs, folk dancers and artists
 from throughout Illinois. Most events are free to the public; the full
 schedule is available at http://www.alplm.org .
     Some of the other major activities planned for the grand opening include:
      -- Scholarly Conference "Lincoln in the Twenty-First Century" - (April
         17 and 18, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library) - A two-day Lincoln
         Scholarly Conference will examine Lincoln, from his attitude toward
         race and his domestic life to his wartime leadership and
         assassination. The conference will conclude on the 18th with a panel
         hosted by C-SPAN founder and CEO Brian Lamb and will feature three
         generations of the world's foremost Lincoln scholars -- David Herbert
         Donald, Harold Holzer and Matthew Pinsker.
      -- Interfaith Service of Thanksgiving for the Life of Abraham Lincoln -
         (April 17, 11 a.m., Union Square Park) - The community will come
         together and find strength in the celebration of religious diversity
         in a public service led by various community religious leaders.
      -- Recreation of Lincoln's Farewell Address and Torchlight Parade -
         (April 17, 6:30 p.m., Old Train Depot to Union Square Park /ALPLM)
      -- Outdoor Concert, Fireworks and Laser Spectacular - (April 17, 8 p.m.,
         Union Square Park) - A public concert by the 312th Army Band.
      -- Recreated Lincoln White House State Dinner - (April 18, 7:30 p.m.,
         Springfield Renaissance Hotel) - This fundraiser for the Abraham
         Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation will feature a Lincoln-era
         menu and 19th-century music courtesy of the 312th Army Band. The first
         David Herbert Donald Prize for Excellence in Lincoln Studies will be
         presented to its namesake, the author of the definitive one-volume
         Lincoln biography.
      -- Public Dedication - (April 19, 11 a.m., Union Square Park) - Gov.
         Blagojevich and other prominent leaders will speak at this hour-long
         event signaling the official opening of the museum, with music
         provided by the 312th Army Band. In addition, the winner of a student
         essay contest sponsored by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
         and Museum and C-SPAN will read his or her modern-day version of the
         Gettysburg address to the crowd.
     The museum's grand opening will follow the dedication, giving the public
 the opportunity to experience firsthand the museum's 46,000 square feet of
 permanent exhibits -- twice the size of any other presidential museum. The
 galleries, which employ 21st-century technology to make the 19th century live
 again, are the result of a collaboration among the State of Illinois, the
 Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA), Burbank, Calif.-based BRC
 Imagination Arts, and a distinguished panel of renowned historians.
     "The opening of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum will be a popular
 celebration of public history at its best," said Richard Norton Smith, the
 museum's executive director.  "Just as the exhibits inside invite visitor
 participation, so will the events outside. Like the Museum, they will recreate
 another time, even as they remind us of what is timeless. It will be,
 literally, a time to remember."
     For more information about the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and
 Museum, or about the slate of opening activities, visit http://www.alplm.org .
      Lauren Chilcote, 312.297.7432
      David Blanchette, IHPA  217.558.0516

SOURCE Illinois State Office of the Governor