September 12, 2008: Barry Cauchon
About one month ago I received an invitation to attend a one-day, special event on Saturday, September 13 in Springfield, Illinois. It is called “Blaze Your Own Trail in Illinois – Blogger Meet Up”. The event is sponsored by the Illinois Bureau of Tourism and has been organized by Edelman Digital out of Chicago.
Well, today is the day I fly down to Chicago and then drive the additional 3-1/2 hours south to Springfield. It’s my first trip to Springfield so I am really pumped about it.
Most people think of Bart Simpson when they hear about Springfield. And although the show has a running gag about what state Springfield is actually in, I can assure you that I’m headed to Springfield, ILLINOIS, the Land of Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln lived in Springfield for many years, marrying and raising his family, practicing law, serving in the Illinois House of Representatives and eventually, running his campaign for President of the United States. So for me, this is the place to be right now.
The event has been nicely organized with the morning being dedicated with a visit to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (ALPLM). I am really looking forward to spending some time here.
As some of you may know, I am a Senior Project Manager in the business of planning and building exhibits for museums, corporate environments and touring events. I spend a great amount of time in museums, 90% of them usually under construction when I am involved. So it is always a pleasure for me to just enjoy the artifacts and content of the finished exhibits without worrying about the showcases, the climate control systems, the audio visual and multimedia presentations, the graphics, the artifact mounts, the shipping and installation, etc.
There is an incredible infrastructure that goes into building a museum and I absolutely love the process. What you finally see as a visitor to one of these places, probably took several years to plan and execute. Be proud of the museums in your towns or cities. They are works of love and the people who bring them to you really know their stuff.
OK, enough preaching about how wonderful history and museums are (BUT THEY ARE!!!!). Let me get back to my trip to Springfield.
Mr. Thomas Schwartz, the Illinois State Historian, will be giving opening remarks at the ALPLM. I have had the opportunity to correspond with Mr. Schwartz recently and look forward to meeting him and discussing some topics of personal interest to me. Look for some of these discussions in later postings here. Stay tuned.
Anyway, after our visit to the museum, we will have a brief trolley tour of downtown Springfield and then a hosted lunch. Awesome!
The afternoon offers several optional tours. Of course since this is my first time in Springfield, I want to do them all!
Option 1 will allow us to visit Lincoln’s Home and the Lincoln Herndon Law Office.
Option 2 will cover the Illinois State Museum and the Dana-Thomas house (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright).
In both options, a visit to the old State Capitol will be possible if time permits.
Option 3 will be a Lincoln History Walk.
“Oh my, oh my, what shall I do, what shall I do!”
Since this is my first time to Springfield, I want to soak up all that I can about Abraham Lincoln and his early history here. So Options 1 and 3 are calling out to me. But I hate to miss out on the visit to the State Museum and the Dana-Thomas House. The old State Capitol building is a must along with my own side trip to Oak Ridge Cemetery to visit Lincoln’s Tomb.
That’s a full day for sure. After dinner, it is probably an early night for me as I’ve got to get on the road by 3:00am Sunday morning to get back to Chicago’s O’Hare airport to catch my morning flight back home. It’s a whirlwind tour but I’m ready to rock.
Upon my return, I will write a full report on this exciting trip. Who knows what other things will happen while I’m there. I look forward to the visit and to meeting all the attendees and our hosts.
Have a great weekend and enjoy history!
If you are interested in Abraham Lincoln, you should read these interviews by two Lincoln experts:
(posted on November 10, 2008)
(posted on December 08, 2008)