Central Illinois Treasures: Exploring Lincoln's history

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LINCOLN, Ill. (WAND) – A museum in central Illinois explores the history of Abraham Lincoln.

The Lincoln Heritage Museum offers an immersive experience for visitors, giving them an opportunity to interact with the former president’s history through interactive displays. Since it first opened for business in 1942, it has served as a gateway to a specific era of Lincoln’s life.

“We are the oldest Lincoln-related museum in the state of Illinois,” said LHM Director Tom McLaughlin. “What we try to promote at the museum is Lincoln’s pre-presidential life. That’s when he had the greatest impact on this geographical area.”

Displays include things Abraham Lincoln touched during his life, which include a chair his son Tad sat in and a desk where Lincoln would do his work. McLaughlin says Tad Lincoln’s name is carved into the back of the chair.

Another display on the second floor explores the night Ford Theater on April 14, 1865, when John Wilkes Booth shot and killed Lincoln.

The museum has a motto: “Learn from Lincoln, live like Lincoln.” It’s an expression reflected in every part of the collection.

The Lincoln Heritage Museum website says the museum collection began in “The Lincoln Room” at Lincoln College in the 1940s, then moved to the McKinstry Memorial Building in 1971 as it started to grow. It finally went the Lincoln Center in 2014, where the full collection currently sits.

Lincoln College is located in the town of Lincoln, which received its name in honor of Abraham Lincoln in 1853.

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