Exhibit Focuses On Presidents From Illinois

Mar 23, 2018

Credit ALPLM

A new exhibit now open at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum looks at the lives and careers of all the presidents who lived in the state.  It’s called “From Illinois to the White House.”

The Museum’s executive director Alan Lowe said while the focus of the facility is usually on Lincoln, Illinois has sent others to the White House -- Obama, Reagan, Grant -- and that’s the story this exhibit tells.

“We wanted to look at those four great leaders who had some connection to the state,” Lowe said. 

Along with learning more about these men and their first ladies, plenty of artifacts will be on display. Many are on loan from other institutions.  Those include:

  • the table where Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant in the Civil War
  • the note cards Ronald Reagan used in his “Tear Down This Wall” speech
  • the Grammy that Barack Obama won for the audio-book version of “Dreams from My Father”
  • the Bible on which Grant’s head rested after his death
  • a love letter from Reagan to his wife Nancy
  • Obama’s notes from his “Bloody Sunday” speech in Selma

Lincoln’s briefcase, or portfolio, in which he likely carried the Emancipation Proclamation as it was being drafted.
Credit ALPLM

The exhibit runs through the year as part of Illinois’ bicentennial.  The 1818 state Constitution will also be available for viewing.

Special programs will also be part of the exhibit.  There is no extra cost as it is part of regular admission.