Exhibits

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Museum  |  Library  |  Union Station  |  Exterior  |  Online Exhibits  |  Upcoming Exhibits


Museum

Museum Plaza

The plaza, shown above, is where your visit begins and concludes it is the hub of the Museum. The Plaza allows our visitors to explore and return to reflect. Lifelike figures of the Lincoln family greet visitors in the Plaza with the White House as a backdrop for a great photo op before taking your own journey through the life and times of Abraham Lincoln.

Journey 1

Explore Abraham Lincoln’s early life from his boyhood in a Kentucky cabin through his 1860 campaign for President of the United States.

Learn more about Journey 1

Journey 2

Abraham Lincoln achieved what many men only dreamed of when he won the presidency in 1860. But the country was in crisisthe Civil War would begin just weeks after his inauguration, and Lincoln would wrestle with the human toll of battle and of slavery. Family tragedy struck as well, with the death of son Willie in 1862. Cruel personal and political attacks that greeted the Lincolns when they arrived in Washington, D.C., gave way to an outpouring of grief following his assassination on April 14, 1865. Somber scenes of mourning give way to consideration of Lincoln’s powerful hold on Americans.

Learn more about Journey 2

Treasure's Gallery

Examine up close a variety of artifacts from President Lincoln, his family, and the Civil War.

Learn more about Treasure's Gallery

Illinois Gallery

The Illinois Gallery is home to our temporary exhibits, traditionally changed annually. Our next exhibition, "The Questioneers" will open on February 16th, 2024.

Learn more about Illinois Gallery

Citizen City (in development)

We are developing a unique children’s exhibit experience which is ripped from the pages of graphic novels and will engage our young patrons to champion democracy and save the city. Check back for updates when this space goes live.

Learn more about Citizen City (in development)


Library

While researchers could spend a lifetime working here to discover more about Lincoln’s life and legacy, many of our Museum guests find they spend only a small portion of their time in the Library. However, you will not want to miss these exhibits housed in the Library!

Lincoln’s Life in Letters

At its heart, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is a showcase for the millions of items housed in its collection devoted to Illinois history and Abraham Lincoln. On any given day, at least 100 of those items are on display. Included in the collection are more than 1,600 documents in Lincoln’s hand. We invite you to explore Lincoln’s life through some of the documents that shaped our museum exhibits and the stories they tell.

Learn more about Lincoln’s Life in Letters

The Stevenson Room

The Stevenson family have prominently served their state and country as Illinois representative, Illinois treasurer, Illinois secretary of state, congressman, governor, U.S. senator, vice president, and ambassador to the United Nations. Funded by a grant from the Illinois secretary of state, The Stevenson Room is an experience that illuminates the Stevenson family’s story using objects, like buttons and hats, from their many campaigns. This cutting-edge exhibit boasts interactive digital kiosks that allow you to explore the Stevenson family tree, listen to speeches, create political campaign buttons and more!

Learn more about The Stevenson Room


Union Station

Historic building across the street from the library.

Union Station

Union Station was opened in 1898 by the Illinois Central Railroad and the last passenger train left Union Station on April 30, 1971. The station is designed in the Romanesque Revival style, which is evident in its decorative stone and brickwork, strong geometric form, and soaring clock tower. This building is not currently open to the public, but it provides a beautiful backdrop for pictures and a picnic lunch.

Learn more about Union Station


Exterior

Acts of Intolerance

This sculpture, by Preston Jackson, commemorates the centennial of the brutal Springfield Race Riot of 1908. 

Learn more about Acts of Intolerance

Greater Task

This statue, by John W. McClarey, reflects upon Lincoln’s difficulties as a wartime president.  

Learn more about Greater Task

Beacon of Endurance

Opening in 2022, Beacon of Endurance will examine Lincoln’s inspiring legacy through his own words.

Learn more about Beacon of Endurance

Lincoln Bench

This life-size reproduction of Lincoln was donated to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in honor of the Siciliano Construction Company workers who built the museum and library.  

Learn more about Lincoln Bench

Online Exhibits

The Gettysburg Address Up Close

Get a detailed look at the ALPLM’s copy of Lincoln’s most famous speech through this interactive exhibit. Pop-up boxes will explain key ideas, tell the document’s history, and link to other sources of information. The page also includes a photo gallery and educational resources for teachers and parents.

Learn more about The Gettysburg Address Up Close

Emancipation Proclamation

On the day Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, he reportedly told abolitionist Senator Charles Sumner that it was “the great event of the nineteenth century” and “that the name which is connected with this matter will never be forgotten.” Lincoln was correct that the Emancipation Proclamation would become the focal point of his life and legacy, and it continues to be one of the seminal texts of American History.

Learn more about Emancipation Proclamation

Upcoming Exhibits

Solidarity Now! 1968 Poor Peoples Campaign

Solidarity Now! 1968 Poor People's Campaign explores one of the most important grassroots movements of the civil rights era: the Poor People’s Campaign of 1968. The exhibition investigates the factors that made this movement a success: the ideas, the emotions, the people, and the place—Resurrection City. Through a moving combination of photographs, objects, video, and oral histories, it explores the significance and impact of this campaign that drew thousands of people to develop a protest community on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to call the nation's attention to the crippling effects of poverty for millions of Americans.

Exhibit Dates: May 17, 2024 – August 18, 2024

On loan from:


Learn more about Solidarity Now! 1968 Poor Peoples Campaign

Freedom in Form: Richard Hunt

Richard Hunt (1935-2023) was a paragon artist of the 20th century. He was recognized as a singular talent while still a young artist, is regarded as an art vanguard by his contemporaries, and is unparalleled in public art commissions. Freedom in Form: Richard Hunt at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum presents, for the first time, Hunt's artistic achievements as a contribution to the national conversations about freedom and justice. The exhibition draws on the narrative of Black emancipation and the halting delivery of liberty to all people—history and heritage motivated Hunt’s 70 years of making art in America. Born on Chicago’s South Side, Hunt made his artistic home on Chicago’s north side, a perch from which he interpreted histories and myths with materials that built the modern urban metropolis: steel, bronze, and aluminum. During the second half of the last century, as the ‘long arc of the moral universe’ lashed to and fro, Hunt's life and artwork represent an abiding commitment to representing freedom and the possibility of transformational change.

Freedom in Form will allow visitors to view Hunt’s work informed by a Black historical perspective. The presence of voice and struggle through figures such as Frederick Douglass, Emmett Till, and Ida B. Wells will permeate and frame the experience – freedom takes many forms. For most of his career, Richard Hunt literally lived with his work at his studio - converting a City of Chicago utility building in 1971 in the Wrightwood Neighbors area near Chicago’s Lincoln Park. Freedom in Form will utilize the concept of place to situate the viewer to feel his presence through his personal effects, tools, materials and works. Media features with Hunt’s contemporaries will provide voices of tribute and perspective, coupling the lived experiences of the man with the wonders that are his creations.

Exhibit Dates: September 19, 2024  -  April 20, 2025

Photo credit: Richard Hunt Legacy Foundation

Learn more about Freedom in Form: Richard Hunt


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