Bicentennial celebration kickoff

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - 365 days stand between Illinois and 200 years of history.

Sunday, the state started the year-long birthday celebration. Many places got in on the fun like the Illinois State Museum as well as the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

The ALPLM invited the public in with free admission, and plans to do more throughout the year. Chris Wills, an ALPLM spokesperson, says, "At the ALPLM  next year, we'll open a new exhibit about the four presidents who came from Illinois. Lincoln, Grant, Obama, and Reagan, so it's called From Illinois to the White House." The new exhibit will take place of the Cardinals-Cubs exhibit. 'From Illinois to the White House' will open in March.

Wills says he is from Illinois and loves that he is able to be a part of the celebration. He says, "One of the great things about Illinois I think is how it's so representative of the country as a whole. We have southern areas, northern areas, we've got prairies, swamps, and rivers. And so, I just love the opportunity to be able to celebrate all of that together, to show all of the great things that people in Illinois have done in the past 200 years and all of the things we'll do in the next 200." He says the ALPLM plans to participate in many events as well as use their historians to help answer questions and contribute to different projects.

One of the museum volunteers, Robert Evans is proud to call Illinois home even though he is originally from Wales. He says working at the museum is great because he gets to share his love for Illinois with others. Evans says, "We really love it here at the museum because we see so many people and we can talk to them and they ask questions, and we get a feeling that it's special."

You can find more Bicentennial Celebration events here.

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