Lincoln Heritage Museum attendance
New museum matches average annual attendance
in first three months after opening
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[August 09, 2014]
LINCOLN - The Lincoln Heritage Museum
reopened in April with much fanfare and optimism that the new
location and design would draw more visitors interested in Abraham
Lincoln to Lincoln and Logan County. That optimism has not been
misplaced. Over 2,200 guests have passed through the doors in the
Museum’s first three months, which is as many as usually visited the
old museum each year. By April 2015, the Museum hopes to have seen
6,000 or more names in the guestbook.
The Museum staff has been delighted to see so many visitors and
by the feedback they’ve received, including favorable comparisons
with the larger Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield.
“Being compared with an elite museum like the Presidential Museum is
fantastic. Visitors’ responses to our museum have been very
gratifying. They’re blown away by the interactive design and
experience, and also pleased to find that we have retained that
sense of intimacy that we had in the old museum,” said Lincoln
Heritage Museum Director Ron Keller.
“There are many aspects that set us apart from other museums—even
other Lincoln-themed museums,” explains Keller. “By focusing on
Lincoln’s personal characteristics, we encourage people to ponder
how they live out their lives with greater empathy, vision,
leadership, perseverance, honesty, and intellect. If we can
transform lives here, then there is no better purpose a museum can
serve. The supreme goal of a good museum is to get people to think,
and we hear that from visitors time and again. Visiting our Museum
is an emotional and thought-provoking experience.”
The Lincoln Heritage Museum was a topic of conversation at the most
recent meeting of the Abraham Lincoln Association (ALA), the premier
Lincoln organization in the country.
“Several members of the ALA board raved that the museum is a ‘must
see.’ It’s exciting to hear their feedback, and to have prominent
Lincoln organizations seeking us out to partner with them,” said
Anne Moseley, assistant director at the Lincoln Heritage Museum.
As expected, the Lincoln Heritage Museum is becoming a tourist
destination in its own right. Keller cited several examples of
visitors who have made special trips to Lincoln.
“A couple from eastern Ohio traveled to visit us specifically. They
said they may go to Springfield while they’re here, but that they
came specifically to see us. A woman from the board of an
Albuquerque, New Mexico historical museum that’s planning a redesign
came all the way out here to take notes and see how we were able to
create a cutting-edge, immersive type museum. Also Abraham Lincoln
enthusiasts from both coasts have heard the buzz and traveled to
Lincoln to see the Museum for themselves. That is exciting stuff,”
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The impact of the Museum is already being felt by the larger
Logan County community.
“Because of the high quality of our Museum, we have groups,
families and individuals visiting Lincoln almost daily. I think
Logan County is witnessing a residual effect in terms of
economic growth because of our Museum,” said Lincoln College
President John Blackburn.
“Out-of-town visitors regularly ask about motels, restaurants,
and places to shop. We are happy to direct them to downtown, to
lodging accommodations, and to other attractions here in our
town and throughout the county,” said Moseley.
As autumn approaches, the Museum is not resting on the laurels
and the energy of the opening. Several special events are
planned, including a living history night celebrating the 175th
anniversary of the establishment of Logan County, a workshop for
individuals interested in becoming certified interpretive
guides, and a book signing. Early in 2015, the museum will
install special exhibits to commemorate the 150th anniversary of
the founding of Lincoln College and the 150th anniversary of
Abraham Lincoln’s assassination and funeral procession. Keller
and Moseley anticipate that these events will bring even more
new visitors to the Museum as well as provide ongoing
opportunities for returning visitors to keep learning from
Lincoln and living like Lincoln.
The Lincoln Heritage Museum is located in the Lincoln Center on
the north side of the Lincoln College campus. Hours are from 9
a.m.to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 1 to 4 p.m. on
Saturdays. For more information visit the website at
[Text received; TRACY BERGIN, LINCOLN