Monday, October 28, 2013

Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’ props to find a home in Springfield

Do you follow the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum on Facebook? If you don’t, you should.

Then you wouldn’t miss news like this exciting announcement: “Key sets, costumes and props” from Steven Spielberg’s movie “Lincoln” will be displayed “for many years to come” in an exhibit, “Lincoln: From History to Hollywood.”

The sets for Lincoln’s office and Mary Lincoln’s bedroom will be in the exhibit at Union Station, across 6th Street from the museum in Springfield, Ill., beginning in early 2014.

The exhibit will also include costumes, such as Lincoln’s suit, some of Mary Lincoln’s dresses and young Tad Lincoln’s Zouave uniform, as well as props like the stethoscope used in the death scene, papers and magazines used as office props, and the gloves Daniel Day Lewis wore in his Academy Award-winning performance of Lincoln.

Union Station will serve as a museum annex, with video presentations about the movie to complement the exhibit.

Admission for children will be free, when accompanied by adults, whose admission charge is $5. A new “full experience” package offers museum visitors a savings, though. For $15, which is $3 more than museum-only admission, adults can see both the museum and its annex “Lincoln” exhibit.

Spielberg and DreamWorks Studios are loaning the items to the museum, with transportation costs covered by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, not tax dollars.

“It is an honor to have this exhibit at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum,” says Spielberg. “When we visited for research on the film, it was our thought that there might be an opportunity to bring such an exhibit to Springfield, and that is now a reality.”

From one Lincoln buff to another, I say, Kudos, Mr. Speilberg! Your movie resurrected the Lincoln story, eliciting a new wave of interest in the 16th President, his life and legacy. Thank you! I can’t wait to see the exhibit.

Visit the ALPLM Facebook announcement to read the full release.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A virtual tour of Ford’s Theatre Center for Education and Leadership

Pinsker holds the Brian Pohanka Chair of Civil War History at Dickinson College. He is the author of two books about Lincoln, one of which is “Lincoln’s Sanctuary: Abraham Lincoln and the Soldiers’ Home.” He is also co-director of the House Divided project, which provides 21st century tools to teach 19th century topics in grades K-12. 

Check out one of the latest – an inside look at Ford’s Theatre Center for Education and Leadership. Pinsker shared this post on LinkedIn today:

Teacher's Tour of the Ford's Theatre Center for Education and Leadership from The Gilder Lehrman Institute on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Back to Lincoln's haunts

Nearly 100 years ago, Springfield, Ill. poet Vachel Lindsay penned a poem, “Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight.” In 32 lines of verse, the poet spoke of the President stirred from his grave, walking the streets of the city he called home for more than half of his life, restless even in death because of unrest in the world. 

The central Illinois poet was troubled himself by the discord in the world in 1914. World War I had begun.

Lindsay’s poem is powerful, but many of us who frequent Springfield know that it wasn’t just on a night a century ago that Lincoln’s spirit walked the streets of the capital city. 

Those of us who spend much time there, who study the 16th President, his life and his legacy, know that, ghost-like being or not, the aura of Abraham Lincoln lives on in the town to which and the home of the people to whom he said he owed everything. 

In the rooms of the Old State Capitol or the Lincoln-Herndon Law Office,  in his home and along the streets he walked, if you stop, close your eyes for a second and open yourself to the possibility, it’s not at all hard to see this tall, lanky prairie lawyer in the city he called home. 

Because I live in mid-Missouri now, instead of an hour from Springfield, as I did for more than a decade, I don’t get to return to Lincoln’s adopted hometown as often as I once did. On Oct. 18, I returned for an opportunity of which I’ve dreamed for nearly two decades. I visited Springfield to speak about Abraham Lincoln. 

The occasion was the national conference of an organization in which I found tremendous value and through which I met vibrant leaders, encouraging mentors and brilliant communicators, when I was a member early in my corporate career—the Association for Women in Communications (AWC). The Springfield chapter of the organization served as host of the event, which has been held in a number of large communities across the nation through the years. 

One of my bucket list items was to speak on the national level sometime, somewhere. Another was to deliver a speech about Abraham Lincoln.  

I’d fulfilled the second of these wishes on a small scale on a number of occasions when I lived in the Bloomington-Normal area. I’ll bet if you asked them, you’d be surprised at the number of Sunrise Speakers Toastmasters members who could tell you that I opened their eyes a number of times at our 7 a.m. meetings with information that inspired them to learn more about Abraham Lincoln. As I shared my lifelong passion for his story, I guess I whetted their interest in him a little, too. If so, I did what I hoped. 

But, I’d never spoken about Lincoln in Springfield, the city where his legacy lives and inspires every single day.

On Friday afternoon, nearly 100 professional communicators gathered to hear “What Communicators Can Learn from Abraham Lincoln.” As I’ve studied Lincoln, I’ve noticed a number of similarities between things he did in his life and things communicators do in theirs. I believe there are 10 lessons that we can take from his life and example that can help us in our own social media efforts, our careers and our lives. 

I won’t share them all here today, but will give you a hint. For the last few minutes, you’ve been practicing one of them. To be like Lincoln, read. Read every day – and share what you read. Share it in a conversation over lunch or dinner, in a blog post or on Facebook, in a tweet.

This weekend, more than 100 women from across the nation gathered in Springfield to hear speakers, ranging from a Paralympic champion to this communicator who is more than a little bit nutty over a President from the Prairie State. I’d like to think they left with a bit more enthusiasm and knowledge about Lincoln than they had when they came. I do know they left inspired by the example, enthusiasm and nurturing of this dynamic group of women – and thankful to the efforts of the Springfield Chapter who showed them why the community and its people meant so much to the development of the president whose legacy is honored there.

Yes, Lincoln does still walk in Springfield – and not just in the light of the moon. 

You'll also find a version of this post on my eclectic blog, "Musings on Route 66." 

Would you like for me to show members of your organization what they can learn from Lincoln? Now accepting speaking engagements for professional conferences in 2014. Please send me email at lincolnbuff2 [at] yahoo [dot] com for more information.