Presidential museum highlights the Illinois 4 - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Presidential museum highlights the Illinois 4

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Four Presidents with four very different stories on their journey from Illinois to the White House.

In the next installment of Home and History: Celebrating 200 Years we take you to the one place that brings these fascinating and powerful stories all together.


Hometowns and hobbies are on display as they all influenced these men in their journey from the prairie to the nation's capitol.

Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses Grant, Ronald Reagan and Barrack Obama all once called Illinois home.


"Let's look at Illinois history through the stories of these four men who basically take us from the pioneer era of Illinois... to the modern era," said Chris Wills director of communications for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield. "One of the themes for this exhibit is what great communicators all four men were. They all knew how to use the words, spoken or written, to connect with people."

While there is plenty to read, there's also a lot to see with at least one iconic piece from each commander in chief, each one unique.

"The brief case, the sort of portfolio, that Abraham Lincoln used to carry documents. This is the briefcase he had that very likely carried emancipation proclamation in," WIlls said.

As for Grant, you'll see the very table Robert E. Lee used to sign surrender papers at the end of the Civil War.

"For Ronald Reagan, we've got a lot of great pieces. I think the one that most interests me is the high school yearbook. It speaks to Reagan's roots... his origins in Illinois."

And as for 44th President, there is a reference to his talent for moving a crowd.

"With Barack Obama, by showing his Grammy that he won for the audio version of his memoir, 'Dreams From My Father'."

"So I'm scoping out both to, for my nephews who are big into history and things like that, and also to tell my coworkers about it. Cause I teach choir, so I don't teach history but I mingle with teachers that do," said Molly Nixon, a teacher from Normal.

Nixon says it's interactive with something for everyone.


That exhibit is open seven days a week, now through then end of the year.
 

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