Illinois State Capitol: Take the Tour

Illinois State Capitol: Take the Tour

The bronze sculpture of a woman standing in the rotunda of the Illinois State Capitol welcomed us with open arms. She stands directly beneath a beautiful stained-glass dome that tops the building where Illinois law is proposed, debated and put to legislative vote. Taking a look around the Italian Renaissance Revival building, statues, paintings and ornate walls and ceilings surrounded us. To learn more about the art, architecture and what goes on in the capitol, we took the free half-hour tour. Read more

Lincoln’s New Salem: Abe’s Pre-Springfield Years

Lincoln’s New Salem: Abe’s Pre-Springfield Years

From the time Abraham Lincoln left his family at the age of 22 until he went into law and politics, he ran two general stores, was a surveyor, a postmaster and a captain in the Black Hawk War. During this time, he lived in New Salem, about 20 miles north of Springfield, Illinois. Today you can visit the reconstructed New Salem and explore over 20 recreated log buildings in the area that Lincoln called home at the Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site. Read more

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, Springfield IL: Museum Meets Disney

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, Springfield IL: Museum Meets Disney

I had heard that the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum was “really awesome,” but I thought, “How awesome can a museum be?”  I knew there were some really neat Lincoln artifacts and exhibits, and for years museums have been making exhibits more interactive with use of “please touch” buttons to activate audio, and more recently, touch screen computers.  So although I knew the Lincoln museum would be a pleasant experience, my level of anticipation wasn’t set all that high.  Was I ever wrong!  The first time I visited the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum I was astonished at the awesome use of special effects.  It turns out that one of the museum’s designers was a former Disney animatronics engineer. Read more