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Illinois to the White House

​SPRINGFIELD – The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum will help celebrate the state’s 200th birthday with a major new exhibit about the four presidents who have called Illinois their home, ALPLM Executive Director Alan Lowe announced Sunday.

The exhibit, entitled “From Illinois to the White House:  Lincoln, Grant, Reagan, Obama,” will explore their connections to the Prairie State, their political battles, the first ladies who helped them succeed and much more.

Visitors will see amazing documents and artifacts, including Ronald Reagan’s yearbook from his high school days in Dixon, the table where Ulysses S. Grant’s accepted Robert E. Lee’s surrender during the Civil War, an original draft of Barack Obama’s speech at the 50th anniversary of the Selma civil rights march, and the briefcase Abraham Lincoln used as president. 

“From Illinois to the White House” opens March 23 and runs through the end of 2018.

“Illinois helped shape these leaders, and they in turn helped shape Illinois and the entire country. As we celebrate the state’s bicentennial, it seems appropriate to take a close look at their lives and legacies,” Lowe said.

“We’re bringing together artifacts from more than a dozen institutions and private collectors for what will truly be a once-in-a-lifetime exhibit,” Lowe added.

Items in the exhibit come from, among others, the U. S. Grant State Historic Site, Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Barack Obama Presidential Library, National Portrait Gallery, Chicago History Museum and Wayne Whalen, chair emeritus of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation. The John Ullrich Foundation of Decatur has provided generous support.

The exhibit will be housed in the ALPLM’s Illinois Gallery, a space dedicated to rotating exhibits on state history. 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 (212 N. 6th Street, Springfield).

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is dedicated to telling the story of America’s 16th president through old-fashioned scholarship and modern technology. It also serves as the state historical library.

The library holds an unparalleled collection of Lincoln material, as well as some 12 million items pertaining to other aspects of Illinois history. Meanwhile, the museum uses traditional exhibits, eye-catching special effects and innovative story-telling techniques to educate visitors. 

Learn more at  www.PresidentLincoln@illinois.gov or by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram​.