SPRINGFIELD, IL (KFVS) - The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum will celebrate the Illinois bicentennial with an exhibit exploring the lives and accomplishments of the four U.S. presidents who called Illinois home.
"From Illinois to the White House: Lincoln, Grant, Reagan, Obama" opens Friday, March 23, and runs for the rest of the year.
It will examine the connections of those four presidents to Illinois, their achievements as politicians and communicators, and the first ladies who helped them succeed.
Visitors can see rare artifacts gathered from institutions across the country, including:
- 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
The Lincoln Presidential Library will also display fascinating Lincoln items such as the last axe he ever used, his briefcase and his ink well and pen.
"This nation would be much different today without the contributions of these four presidents, and they in turn would have been much different without Illinois' influence on their characters and careers," said Alan Lowe, executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. "The state's 200th birthday is the perfect time for people to get to know these fascinating leaders."
Visitors get the chance to answer presidential trivia questions or pose for pictures behind a presidential lectern as they deliver the Gettysburg Address from a teleprompter.
The exhibit includes the state's very first constitution, on loan from the Illinois State Archives.
There will be no extra fee to see "From Illinois to the White House: Lincoln, Grant, Reagan, Obama." It is provided as part of regular admission to the Lincoln museum in Springfield.
For more information, visit www.presidentlincoln.illinois.gov or follow the museum on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.