Carol Manning’s connection to the ALPLM started long before she became an ALPLM Volunteer in April 2018. Carol’s story began years earlier when she was completing her graduate degree in history at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Carol explained, “In one of my courses on Lincoln, the professor told us about the ALPLM being built. I knew immediately that is where I wanted to work as my interests have always focused on presidential history. I contacted the ALPLM’s Office of Human Resources numerous times over several months before receiving a call indicating that the museum construction was almost finished and they were beginning the hiring process. My persistence paid off and I got my dream job!”
Carol was hired as an Education Coordinator in the Education Department in March 2005, only one month before the museum opened to the public. “Our mission was to teach teachers to teach Lincoln,” Carol stated. “We created teacher workshops, lesson plans, and presentations inside and outside of the museum. At the same time, our department worked with the Guest Services team to formulate and put into practice the field trips for students.” The museum children’s area, Mrs. Lincoln’s Attic is another component of the Education Department and Carol spent countless hours providing content for the supportive staff that educated the kids exploring this unique space.
One of Carol’s favorite responsibilities of her new job was assisting with the Horace Mann Teacher Institutes held annually every summer at the ALPLM for one week in June and July. This institute hosted twenty-five teachers from all over the country who came to Springfield to learn about Lincoln and how to instruct their students about him. “The teachers’ enthusiasm and varied experiences made these weeks fascinating and we all learned and benefited from the shared educational sessions”, she stated.
Carol’s affinity for Lincoln was instilled in her as a young child and she gives much of the credit to her mother’s influence. “My mother raised me to love Lincoln”, she shared. “I am grateful that she learned that I accepted this position at the museum before she passed away. I truly think she knew I was in good hands.” Carol’s dedication to learn and discover more about Lincoln and other presidential topics have only heightened throughout her time as a teacher and student of history. Carol explained, “To me the aspects of what I have explored and learned at the ALPLM are about Lincoln himself. Lincoln’s honor, decency, intelligence, humor, humanity, and above all his leadership were critical during a time in our country when we needed it most.”
After much thought and consideration, Carol made the hard decision to retire in December 2016. Although moving to Edwardsville, she knew that she wanted to maintain her involvement at the museum and continue teaching others about Lincoln. After reviewing the requirements of our volunteer program, she decided to become a volunteer and happily makes the two-hour commute to Springfield a few times a month to stay connected to this place and the people that she loves so much. “Whether as an employee or now as a volunteer, I continue to learn to love Lincoln more than I ever thought I could,” Carol commented. “The ALPLM has stretched me to feel more comfortable sharing publicly what I have learned about Lincoln and gives me confidence in answering guests’ questions about his personal and professional life.”
On a personal note, Carol is grateful for the dear friendships that she has formed during in her time at the ALPLM. Looking back, she is appreciative of the staff and volunteers that welcomed her to Springfield, made her feel at ease, and helped her in settle into her position at the museum.
Reflecting on her professional career at the ALPLM, Carol indicated that her position required “diligence, persistence, and creativity” to reach their department’s objective of sharing the Lincoln story. It took a similar level of perseverance and determination for Carol to find her “dream Job” and discover the employment and volunteer opportunities at a library and museum honoring her beloved president. Thank you, Carol, for inspiring us to never give up on our dreams and reminding us that we can reach any goal with the right amount of hard work and an unwavering dedication to succeed.