SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is excited to open its doors to the public again on Wednesday, July 1.
In celebration of the museum’s 15th anniversary, a freshly overhauled exhibit, “The Mr. Lincoln Theater,” will show videos that highlight the institution’s development, growth and contributions to Illinois.
The museum and library have also been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Multiple safety protocols have been put in place to protect the health of both visitors and staff – for instance, everyone will be asked to maintain a safety distance of one “Lincoln,” or six feet, four inches.
While a traveling exhibit about spies and saboteurs had been scheduled to open, the show needs additional work before it is ready for public viewing. A new debut date has not been determined yet.
“It will be great to see visitors once again exploring Lincoln’s life and learning more about his unique role in American history,” said Melissa Coultas, acting executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. “We’ll be doing everything possible to keep everyone healthy, and we hope our visitors will embrace that mission with us.”
The museum opened April 19, 2005. The library had opened the previous year. Since then, a shade under 5 million people have visited the institution to see irreplaceable documents and artifacts, tour incredibly realistic scenes from Lincoln’s life, enjoy theatrical presentations and meet actors portraying figures from history.
The museum also presents temporary exhibits on a wide variety of historical topics. One created by the International Spy Museum entitled “Spies, Traitors, Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America” was originally going to open in late March, but work on the project was interrupted by the coronavirus shutdown.
Now that work has resumed, museum officials have decided some parts of the exhibit should be updated and expanded.
A longtime interactive exhibit called “Ask Mr. Lincoln” has been overhauled. Previously, it featured Lincoln’s own words and commentary from a historian to answer common questions about Lincoln.
Ultimately, the new version, “The Mr. Lincoln Theater,” will offer fresh video content about the 16th president, but in this 15th anniversary year it will feature material about how the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum was conceived, planned and built.
New measures to maximize public safety include:
- Requiring tickets be purchased in advance, either online or by telephone
- A brief visitor screening, including a temperature check before admission
- Requiring face masks at all times
- Installing signs with outlines of Lincoln’s feet to help visitors maintain proper physical distance
- Reducing the number of theater performances and maintaining safe guest distancing throughout the shows (theaters will be cleaned and disinfected after each performance)
- The temporary closure of the “Mrs. Lincoln’s Attic” play area and Union Station, home to an exhibit on railroad history
- Limiting library access to reservation-only research patrons
- Establishing a strict cleaning and sanitation regimen for the museum and library.
The library will be open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays, but admission will be by appointment only. Researchers who want to schedule a visit should email ALPLM.email@example.com or call the reference desk at 217-524-6358.
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