Sunday, May 29, 2005

Museum Controversy

The title may seem to be an oxymoron – but not to purist historians and some museum aficionados.

The controversial museum is the new Lincoln Museum in Springfield, Illinois. The debate is about the use of high tech to show Lincoln’s life and times. Some historians are saying that this is a misuse of technology.

I haven’t been to the museum – yet. But I watched a wonderful program about it on the History Channel (I am a history geek). The program showed how technology added to the experience – how it brought the museum-goer into the time and mind of probably our greatest president.

How can you understand the man if you don’t understand the times in which he lived?

The looks on the faces of the people walking through the exhibits – individual areas dedicated to each phase of Lincoln’s life – was enough to convince me that the concept was effective. There were looks of awe, wonder, and understanding.

And isn’t that what we want to get from an experience such as this?
Awe for the man who survived and forced a nation to survive through it’s most difficult years.
Wonder at the strength of his convictions.
Understanding of this part of our history and of this great man’s resonance in our own time.

The Lincoln Library and Museum at Springfield, Illinois.

Road trip for this history geek.


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