"At its heart, the museum is a classroom -- even if students
and teachers find it to be a decidedly unconventional one," said
Richard Norton Smith, executive director of the Abraham Lincoln
Presidential Library. "Like any good teacher, we aren't content to
just pass on information, as important as that is. We want to
inspire our young visitors to go on learning about Lincoln and his
legacy long after they leave the corner of Sixth and Jefferson."
Illinois schools that have made the trip to the presidential library
and museum include Luther South Junior High School, Decatur
Christian School, Mount Olive High School, Calvary School, Aurora
and St. Gerald School, Oak Lawn. Out-of-state schools that have
visited include Perry Christian Academy from Perry, Mo., and Salem
Grade School from Salem, Wis.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum was designed
to create exciting learning experiences for children who have grown
up learning through computers and video technology. Because of the
innovative ways that history is shown throughout the museum, the
lessons of history have come alive for thousands of children.
"The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum is a great teaching and
learning resource for students and teachers throughout the state,"
said Randy Dunn, state superintendent of education. "Through the use
of 21st-century technology at the museum, students are literally
surrounded by the people, places and events of one of the most
important periods of our nation's history. The museum's teaching
opportunities brings the legacy of Lincoln to life and shows
students how our future is built on the actions of the past. After a
few hours at the museum, the students know more, and most
importantly, they are curious to learn even more. "
At the museum, students walk through exhibits that recreate
Lincoln's life through animated figures and sounds. They see Lincoln
as a young boy reading by firelight and as a man in the telegraphic
office waiting for news of the war. They move on to the Lincoln-era
White House and then watch as a high-tech map of the United States
displays a daily count of the fatalities of the Civil War.
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Among the museum's most popular attractions for students and
teachers have been the multimedia presentations "Lincoln's Eyes" and
"Ghosts of the Library." In these presentations, smoke effects,
lights, slides, film elements, vibrating seats and animatronics
figures create a breathtaking show.
Among all the high-tech features of the museum are historical
artifacts, which include an original copy of the Gettysburg Address.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum has 40,000
square feet of permanent exhibit space, which is twice the size of
any other presidential museum, and houses the world's largest
collection of Lincoln documents.
Research shows that museum tours can show children real examples
of things they've learned from textbooks, appeal to different
learning styles, humanize history and even encourage students to
The lessons learned at the museum support the Illinois Learning
Standards, which include a goal that all children understand events,
trends, individuals and movements shaping the history of Illinois,
the United States and other nations. The standards state that
students who can examine and analyze the events of the past have a
powerful tool for understanding the events of today and the future.
Students develop an understanding of how people, nations, actions
and interactions have led to today's realities. In the process,
young people can better define their own roles as participants in
their school, community, state, nation and world.
Library and Museum news release]