SPRINGFIELD – February brings an array of special events and family-friendly activities to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, including free admission on Lincoln’s birthday.
The month includes a special look at romantic items from our collections, a discussion of the aftermath of Lincoln’s assassination, presentations by some of the nation’s top Lincoln scholars, a look at the Underground Railroad and information on how to use the library’s many research tools.
February is also the last month of the school year that the museum offers free admission to school groups. From March 1 until the next school year begins, visiting schools will have to pay a small fee.
Lincoln was born in poverty on Feb. 12, 1809. He went on to educate himself, win the presidency and lead the nation through a civil war that ended with freedom for millions of enslaved people.
To celebrate his birthday, the museum will throw its doors open on Feb. 12 and waive the usual admission of $15 for adults and $6 for children.
Visitors can listen to the beautiful music of the Four Sopranos, chat with President and Mrs. Lincoln (portrayed by Randy Duncan and Pam Brown) and meet Lincoln’s stepmother, Sarah (portrayed by Carol Shafer).
Children will be able to make birthday hats and cards, take pictures at our penny selfie station, listen to stories about Lincoln and make a spinning toy called a thaumatrope. We will also announce the winners in a statewide student art contest.
On his birthday and throughout February, the museum’s displays will include unique items like an axe used in the attempt to steal Lincoln’s body, a Bible owned by Lincoln, a tiny horsehair ring that belonged to Lincoln’s son Tad and a campaign flag for Lincoln and running mate Andrew Johnson.
The Abraham Lincoln Association will be meeting in Springfield for Lincoln’s birthday. Their symposium includes a free roundtable discussion at 2:30 in the presidential library with experts on Lincoln’s boyhood in Indiana, his marriage, his relationship with abolitionists and an important journalist-turned-aide. For details, visit www.abrahamlincolnassociation.org.
Other February events include:
- Feb. 4, 5:30 p.m.: A workshop on how to use the library’s tremendous research assets
- Feb. 5, 5:30 p.m.: Introductory session for people interested in volunteering at the ALPLM
- Feb. 6, 5:30 p.m.: Frederick Douglass (portrayed by Bob Davis) discussing Lincoln’s death and its impact on America
- Feb. 13, noon: A special “Tales from the Vault” event featuring Valentine’s cards, love letters and other romantic items from our collections
- Feb. 17, 9 a.m.: A professional development workshop for teachers called “Toward a More Perfect Union: Struggles in the Balance of Federal and State Power”
- Feb. 25, 10 a.m.: Little Lincoln’s Fireside Tales, a reading program for children 5 and under
- Feb. 26, 5:30 p.m.: A discussion of how abolitionists helped establish the Underground Railroad
In honor of Black History Month, the museum will give out cards celebrating the achievements of prominent African-Americans. The cards, similar to baseball cards, are available to the general public and to visiting school groups.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum uses a combination of rigorous scholarship and high-tech showmanship to immerse visitors in Lincoln’s life and times. The library holds an unparalleled collection of Lincoln books, documents, photographs, artifacts and art, as well as some 12 million items pertaining to all aspects of Illinois history.
For more information, visit www.PresidentLincoln.illinois.gov. You can follow the ALPLM on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.