Episode 81

Lincoln Presidential Museum: An Immersive Experience

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Step into a world where history comes alive in vivid technicolor, as we take you on a captivating journey through the Lincoln Presidential Museum, where the past becomes palpable and the legacy of Abraham Lincoln is brought to life in an extraordinary way. In this episode, we'll explore the awe-inspiring immersive experience that awaits you within the museum's hallowed halls.

Join us as we delve into the captivating narrative that is the life and times of one of America's most iconic presidents, Abraham Lincoln. Jenn and Scott will guide you through the museum's carefully curated exhibits, each designed to provide an unparalleled glimpse into the life and struggles of the 16th President of the United States.

The Lincoln Presidential Museum is no ordinary museum; it's a portal to the past. As you walk through the meticulously recreated scenes, you'll feel the weight of history on your shoulders. The echoes of the past, the Civil War battlefield, and Lincoln's tumultuous presidency will surround you, immersing you in an experience that transcends time.

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Transcript
Scott:

So I'm going to lead off with another bad joke.

Jenn:

Oh goodness, did we get a review?

Jenn:

Is it a Lincoln joke?

Jenn:

Give me your best Lincoln joke.

Scott:

Oh, this is definitely not my best.

Scott:

This was the first super lame dad joke I could find on the internet.

Scott:

Something to do with Lincoln logs or something?

Scott:

So while walking to the Capitol building with some members of

Scott:

Congress, Lincoln picked up a crumpled piece of paper off the ground and

Scott:

he dusted off the note, read it, laughed to himself, and that was it.

Scott:

One of the men he was walking with.

Scott:

Asked Lincoln to share the humorous contents with the

Scott:

group and Lincoln resisted.

Scott:

He just said I'm not one to tell dirty jokes

Scott:

That's it.

Scott:

I did not say I did not promise that that was gonna be a good joke.

Scott:

It was a bad joke

Scott:

Welcome to top of history.

Scott:

I'm your host Scott here with my wife and historian Jen.

Scott:

Hello On this podcast, we give you insights to our history inspired,

Scott:

world travels, YouTube channel journey and examine history

Scott:

through deeper conversations with the curious, the explorers, and

Scott:

the history lovers out there.

Scott:

But, this is Bad Jokes, Good Reviews.

Scott:

This segment, we didn't get another good review.

Scott:

However, comma, hopefully the bad joke will prompt someone to leave

Scott:

us a good review because that's, that's what we're asking for.

Scott:

Jen, uh...

Scott:

We're kind of coming back from the West.

Scott:

We came back from Little Bighorn, we came back from Denver, and Wyoming,

Scott:

and all that stuff, and on our way back across the country, we wanted to stop

Scott:

at, uh, some place that had been highly recommended to us by a friend of ours,

Scott:

um, It, this was Abraham Lincoln's kind of presidential library museum.

Scott:

Yeah.

Jenn:

Springfield, Illinois.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

We stopped in Springfield and went to the, decided to go to the

Scott:

museum and we were pretty blown away by what we experienced there.

Jenn:

So, the museum and library, they're right beside each other.

Jenn:

They're right in downtown Springfield, Illinois.

Jenn:

The museum is on, they're both on 6th Street and they're across the street.

Jenn:

So you have 212 6th and 112 6th and it's the museum.

Jenn:

Library.

Jenn:

And we thought, Oh, this will be neat.

Jenn:

We'll go in.

Jenn:

We'll see the museum.

Jenn:

It's a presidential museum.

Jenn:

And we've been to a couple of presidential museums.

Jenn:

So we kind of knew what to expect along that line.

Jenn:

But when we walked into this museum, it felt more like Disney.

Jenn:

Like when you go see the Hall of Presidents,

Scott:

it literally felt like you had walked into a section of Disneyland or

Scott:

Disney World, you know, pick your poison.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

And we kind of walked in and like, we're like, oh my goodness, like,

Scott:

what are we, what are we walking into

Jenn:

here?

Jenn:

And then they're like, you want to watch the movie first?

Jenn:

And we're like, okay, I guess, cause sometimes we don't watch the movie if

Jenn:

we've done the research before we go.

Jenn:

But you want to watch the movie here because it is

Jenn:

very much like a Disney ride.

Jenn:

It's like taking you on the story.

Scott:

It felt like if anybody growing up in the Los Angeles area,

Scott:

like I did, oh, Captain EO with Michael Jackson way back in the day.

Scott:

It felt like that with the hall of presidents.

Scott:

Yes, and we couldn't show it on the video So if you're if you watch the video, of

Scott:

course, it'll be in the show notes of this podcast episode You when you come in

Scott:

it's kind of off to the right But you're not allowed to film or take pictures do

Scott:

any any of that stuff in there They do show some clips of it on the website.

Scott:

Yeah, so that's kind of what that is I walked out of there and I was

Scott:

like, I turned to you and I was like, I don't know how they did that.

Scott:

Yeah.

Jenn:

It's, it's like you have a narrator who comes out and tells you

Jenn:

that a real person, a real person who talks about Lincoln and, and Lincoln's

Jenn:

life, but mostly like Lincoln's.

Jenn:

Legacy.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

And like his papers and basically the stuff you're going to find at the library

Jenn:

and things you want to preserve about Lincoln's life and that there's still

Jenn:

things out there about Lincoln's life.

Jenn:

They're still finding stuff today and and that the office is pretty

Jenn:

much left the way Lincoln left it.

Jenn:

You know, they kind of recreated the office there.

Jenn:

And then you learn that the narrator was someone who died in the Civil War.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

And

Scott:

we, so we won't spoil the end of it, but it, it, it's seriously

Scott:

like the kids walked out and they had huge smiles on their faces.

Scott:

I walked out, I was like, I honestly don't know how they, it was, it was magic.

Scott:

It was

Jenn:

so cool.

Jenn:

The kids didn't know how they did it either.

Jenn:

It really, so if you go.

Jenn:

You're going to be like, and it does set the stage for the rest of the

Jenn:

story as you walk through the museum.

Jenn:

So really do not miss the movie if you go to the Lincoln Museum.

Jenn:

So what is the Lincoln Museum and why is it in Springfield, Illinois?

Jenn:

You know, Lincoln's not born in Illinois.

Jenn:

That's right.

Jenn:

He's born in Kentucky.

Jenn:

He's born in Kentucky.

Jenn:

He's born in Kentucky, February 12th, 1809.

Jenn:

And, but his life, his family is very much like these homesteaders.

Jenn:

Trying to make their way and we're actually they stay kind of his

Jenn:

grandparents actually start in Cumberland Gap So we're kind of in the same area.

Jenn:

Oh, yeah

Scott:

For those listening Jen and I are actually as we record

Scott:

this we are in the western tip of Virginia We are in Big Stone Gap.

Scott:

Yes, which is a fun little thing and we've got videos coming out on that But yes,

Scott:

he does make his way from Kentucky up to

Jenn:

Illinois up to Illinois.

Jenn:

And so it's like he goes from Kentucky to He's self taught.

Jenn:

He, you know, his, his, he's the second child born.

Jenn:

His mother dies when he's young.

Jenn:

He helps, you know, bury his mother.

Jenn:

His father quickly remarries.

Jenn:

He has a very good relationship with his stepmother.

Jenn:

But then his sister dies in childbirth.

Jenn:

So he has a lot of loss early on.

Jenn:

And he really does, like, have to make, make his own way in the world.

Jenn:

And so he'll go to like New Orleans.

Jenn:

He will.

Jenn:

And we depict that in the museum.

Jenn:

They really start with like two sides of Lincoln's life.

Jenn:

They do like his life before the presidency and then during the presidency.

Jenn:

And one of the very first things you're going to walk into is kind of

Jenn:

a recreation of the Lincoln log cabin.

Jenn:

Yeah,

Scott:

that was, it was really, and you literally walk inside.

Scott:

of this log cabin and feels so Disney.

Jenn:

It's like Disney Imagineers.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

It's got the mannequins.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

And so you see young Lincoln reading by the fire and self taught and what

Jenn:

his life was like on the frontier.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

With, you know, in a small one room log cabin where he probably slept

Jenn:

in the loft with his sister and then his parents slept in the main room.

Jenn:

Downstairs, but by night he would sit by the fire and read and so you get to walk

Jenn:

in and see him do that You get to be in the presence of that which is super cool

Jenn:

Yeah, and then it'll kind of take you as he kind of he leaves his family After

Jenn:

his sister passes, he tries to make his way As a clerk he learns business and

Scott:

and they do kind of And part of that as well, they do show what

Scott:

a slave auction would look like.

Scott:

So

Jenn:

when he goes to New Orleans, right?

Jenn:

And they, they show as, cause he did some boat piloting along the Mississippi and

Jenn:

he would have gone down to New Orleans and he would have seen enslaved auctions

Jenn:

in New Orleans and they, they depict one.

Jenn:

So again, with the whole kind of imagineer full mannequin.

Jenn:

Uh, and they do a very graphic scene of a mother being torn

Jenn:

away from a husband and a child.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

So basically you're showing the break up of a family and the trauma of that.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

And the, and the,

Scott:

it's interesting.

Scott:

It, it felt to me like they showed that it was basically kind of right

Scott:

after the, the log cabin portion.

Scott:

So relatively early in his young adulthood, he experienced this and,

Scott:

and they had a quote from him basically saying like he could never really

Scott:

do that or hit a comment on that.

Jenn:

Yeah, he could never understand how a democracy could

Jenn:

be built on something like that.

Jenn:

Right.

Jenn:

So basically what it's showing you is he's young, he's impressionable,

Jenn:

he's learning to make his way in the world, and he's basically

Jenn:

becoming more world, worldly.

Jenn:

Right.

Jenn:

And so he's seeing things that he hadn't seen before on the frontier.

Jenn:

Um, parents were not of means not enslavers.

Jenn:

So, but he's seeing this for the first time and then he it's

Jenn:

making an impression on him.

Jenn:

So when he goes into business and he starts to learn bookkeeping and store shop

Jenn:

keeping, that's when he really gets into the law and starts reading the law book.

Jenn:

And from there, he's going to become a lawyer, a self made lawyer.

Jenn:

And, uh, and that's when he's going to eventually get to Springfield, Illinois.

Jenn:

He goes to a clerk in Springfield, Illinois, and he

Jenn:

really likes the shop there.

Jenn:

He moves upstairs and starts to practice law in Springfield, Illinois.

Jenn:

And that's why the presidential library is there because the longest span of his

Jenn:

life is in Springfield, Illinois from 1837 to 1861 when he moves to the White House.

Jenn:

So that is why his presidential library is there.

Jenn:

That's where his home is.

Jenn:

And we'll do another video about his home.

Jenn:

That's where his grave is.

Jenn:

So all the things like related to that.

Jenn:

And Lincoln are in Springfield,

Scott:

Illinois.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

And they, and as you kind of walk through the museum, so you've walked out

Scott:

of the log cabin kind of by the slave auction, and then you walk in through

Scott:

his early life, his time on bookkeeping.

Scott:

And the more you learn, the more I've learned about Lincoln, the

Scott:

more I realized how many things he tried and how many things he did.

Scott:

Even as a young adult, really, even before he got into the law and into politics.

Scott:

I mean, yeah.

Scott:

Like you said, he was working on the river.

Scott:

He was, I mean, he was, he worked, he literally worked his way up into,

Scott:

into the highest office within the

Jenn:

United States.

Jenn:

Physically demanding jobs.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

He was cutting wood.

Jenn:

Remember he gets hit in the head by the horse.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

And they think he died for a short time died.

Jenn:

He probably knocked him unconscious.

Jenn:

Yes.

Jenn:

I mean, and he, he likes to wrestle.

Jenn:

Right.

Jenn:

So he does very physically demand, he works at the farm and then

Jenn:

he's working a pilot on a, a boat.

Jenn:

And that, that's a physically demanding job.

Jenn:

Absolutely.

Jenn:

And then he's bookkeeping, which, uh, in a store, which is not just keeping

Jenn:

tabs of the books, but it's inventory and stocking and putting stuff away.

Jenn:

So he's learning, he's learning business.

Jenn:

And he's doing the physical stuff as it moves into the more of the,

Jenn:

um, white collar kind of, uh, work where it's not as physically

Jenn:

demanding, but it's in Springfield that he's going to meet Mary Todd.

Jenn:

It's in Springfield.

Jenn:

He's going to marry Mary Todd.

Jenn:

It's in Springfield that all of their four boys will be born.

Jenn:

So it really is the place that he turns becomes a man.

Scott:

Yeah, and then from there They kind of do a good job of summarizing

Scott:

Kind of is his home life and his early work life up through the presidency

Scott:

and one of the things that we actually call out in the video when they start

Scott:

getting into his work and political life is How many times he tried and failed.

Scott:

Yes.

Scott:

And how many times he kind of succeeded and it was all interspersed throughout.

Scott:

It's not like he failed a lot early in the beginning and then all of

Scott:

a sudden had a slew of successes.

Scott:

It was like a success here and a failure there and then another

Scott:

failure and then another success.

Scott:

And it was, it was

Jenn:

so interesting.

Jenn:

It was very interesting.

Jenn:

They also really, they depict a moment.

Jenn:

That in Lincoln's life, which is kind of true about his whole life with his

Jenn:

children, where he wasn't very much of a disciplinarian, he allowed his kids

Jenn:

really to have free reign and be kind of, you know, unruly, unruly, and he

Jenn:

doesn't, so they're like destroying his office and they depict that.

Jenn:

And again, in the imagineer kind of setting, he's laying on the

Jenn:

couch reading law papers and his kids are destroying his office.

Jenn:

They're jumping on pens.

Jenn:

I mean, they're,

Scott:

they, they, they make it sound like they were being playful.

Scott:

Sure.

Scott:

Way more than what the average parents would say, like, Hey,

Scott:

don't throw my ink plot across

Jenn:

the office or whatever, you know?

Jenn:

And they said that he didn't want his children to have

Jenn:

adult worries like he did.

Jenn:

So you can really understand that.

Jenn:

And just like you had said, Lincoln will have these highs and lows.

Jenn:

Throughout his political career throughout his professional career and then a

Jenn:

really throughout his personal life.

Jenn:

Yeah, so Edward Robert Todd his oldest is born in 1943 Edward his

Jenn:

second son is born in 1944 Well Edward will die three years later in 1850.

Jenn:

He dies in the Lincoln home in Springfield, Illinois Yeah, so

Jenn:

he and then his His third son, Willie, is born that same year.

Jenn:

So his son dies early in 1850 and his third son is born late in 1850.

Jenn:

So he's, he hits these really highs and lows in every aspect of his life.

Jenn:

And you, when you start to see this about Lincoln, this is the pattern that will

Jenn:

follow him throughout his presidency.

Jenn:

This is really the pattern of his life.

Jenn:

It's.

Jenn:

He hits these amazing lows.

Jenn:

He loses his mother.

Jenn:

He loses his sister.

Jenn:

He finds work.

Jenn:

He gets a lot of promise.

Jenn:

He, he, he opens a law firm in Springfield.

Jenn:

He marries.

Jenn:

He has children.

Jenn:

He loses children.

Jenn:

He gets in the political field.

Jenn:

He loses elections.

Jenn:

He wins elections.

Jenn:

And you just see this perseverance through

Scott:

Lincoln.

Scott:

It's, it's pretty incredible.

Scott:

And it really speaks to the foundation that was laying

Scott:

for him to get him through.

Scott:

The Civil War.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

And so from there, then they kind of, the first inkling you have of the, the

Scott:

next step of the political part of the museum is the Lincoln Douglas debates.

Scott:

Yes.

Scott:

So they should, they should, they kind of depict that with the mannequins or

Scott:

wax figurines or whatever they are.

Scott:

And then they start talking about, you kind of walk out of that section of

Scott:

museum and then you go over into what looks like the front of the White House.

Scott:

Mm hmm.

Scott:

And then we start getting into His presidency.

Scott:

His presidency.

Scott:

Now, one thing we didn't show was, um, and I think you'll probably

Scott:

remember this, that I, I, I didn't get to show in the video was, um,

Scott:

Mary Todd Lincoln and all her dresses.

Scott:

Oh, yeah.

Scott:

In that first section there.

Scott:

So there was a lot of Mary Todd Lincoln stuff that I didn't get to put in the

Scott:

video because it didn't quite fit.

Scott:

Well,

Jenn:

there's, there's two cool things you didn't really show.

Jenn:

You can take a picture with the whole family.

Jenn:

Yes, right, right up front, right in front of the White House.

Jenn:

They have the whole family.

Jenn:

You have the Lincolns, so you have President Lincoln, Mary Todd, and all four

Jenn:

boys, Robert, Edward, Willie, and Tad.

Jenn:

So, you can take a picture with all of, all of them.

Jenn:

And it's kind of, we took one as a family, so it was kind of nice.

Jenn:

And then when you go into the White House, yes, Mary Todd's dresses.

Jenn:

So Mary Todd was a upper class Southern woman and she did have enslaved.

Jenn:

So Lincoln never owned any person or had any enslaved.

Jenn:

Mary Todd had a woman who was her maid dressmaker who was an enslaved woman and

Jenn:

then be kind of transitioned into her, her and helped her dress and she paid her

Jenn:

and took care of her and I gave her more agency and choice about staying with her.

Jenn:

But Mary Todd was a.

Jenn:

upper class aristocrat woman, she was used to having means and

Jenn:

she was used to having money.

Jenn:

So she just well, and her dresses and her extravagant spending of

Jenn:

that was always a big, uh, thing in

Scott:

DC.

Scott:

And, you know, before we start getting into the, the details of his presidency in

Scott:

the civil war and kind of how he was seen.

Scott:

I, as I was doing research for the video and I was pulling up old

Scott:

pictures of the, of the museum.

Scott:

So there's actually some changes that have been made over the years that weren't

Scott:

there while we were, well, when we went.

Scott:

Oh wow.

Scott:

And when, um, I saw a picture of, if you remember in that foyer

Scott:

and go watch our video, you'll understand what I'm talking about.

Scott:

In the foyer, there's a lot, that's the log cabin off to the left, there's

Scott:

the, and there's a white house.

Scott:

It looked like previously they had had a figurine of John Wilkes Booth

Scott:

out front, kind of off to the side, leaning on the rail of the White House.

Scott:

Right?

Scott:

And so they had had him there, it looked like, for some period of time, right?

Scott:

Because he was kind People, there's multiple pictures on the internet.

Scott:

You can find it pretty, pretty easily.

Scott:

So there are aspects of this museum that they've changed

Scott:

a little bit over the years.

Scott:

I don't think that's

Jenn:

good.

Jenn:

It's not his story.

Scott:

Yeah, I would agree with that.

Scott:

But I just thought it was interesting, kind of a little bit of foreshadowing of

Scott:

what you end up seeing at the end, right?

Jenn:

So who they have on the porch now is Granton McClellan, two of

Jenn:

his generals from the Civil War.

Jenn:

And then they have Frederick Douglass, and I think it was Sojourner Truth,

Jenn:

and so they're kind of on the porch.

Jenn:

And then you go into the White House, and like you said, things

Jenn:

happen pretty quickly for Lincoln, and he, again, is riding this

Jenn:

rollercoaster of highs and lows.

Jenn:

He's elected November 1860, he leaves for the White House in February

Jenn:

1861, that's when he's going to leave the House in Springfield.

Jenn:

And what happens not even two months later is the civil war.

Jenn:

Not even two months later, like the civil war will break out.

Jenn:

So he's in the white, he barely probably had time to unpack.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

Right?

Jenn:

And, and then I almost exactly a year after that happens, Willie dies.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

And he dies in the White House and again, devastated.

Jenn:

They're family.

Jenn:

This is where you get a lot of this depression of Lincoln, the melancholy,

Jenn:

the, you know, the problem with his dreams, like he had problems sleeping,

Jenn:

he's up at all hours, and he's wearing the, um, morning band on his Top hats.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

Which he will wear his entire life and he's wearing it the

Jenn:

night he's shot in Ford's

Scott:

Theater.

Scott:

The museum does a good job even before you get to that part of the museum

Scott:

where they show where his son Willie dies is because they walk you through

Scott:

this hallway where and in the video we kind of give it the title of like

Scott:

Lincoln is vilified by the public.

Scott:

Yes.

Scott:

Because there's, there's so much criticism of what he's

Scott:

doing, how he's handling things.

Scott:

And, I mean, we think the press is bad today.

Scott:

It was almost as bad back then.

Scott:

There's all these, like, negative articles, and they show pictures,

Scott:

and, and there's just, you know, caricatures of him that are not

Scott:

flattering and all this stuff.

Scott:

And so as you're walking through this hallway, there's actually voices.

Scott:

They get voice actors kind of saying these things about him.

Scott:

Mm hmm.

Scott:

And then you get up, you know, to where his, his son Willie dies.

Scott:

And so he's been dealing with this.

Scott:

Like you said, his entire time in his presidency, then he has a son that dies,

Scott:

like, I can't imagine what kind of, you know, mental strain that has on a person.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

And you see when they depict Willie's death in the room, the Lincolns are, are

Jenn:

dressed to the nines because they had just gotten back from a event, a social event.

Jenn:

So here they are acting as president and first lady of the United States,

Jenn:

coming home to their child who's just about to leave the world.

Jenn:

Just showing you what he is dealing with constantly.

Jenn:

And, again, then it goes into the Emancipation Proclamation.

Jenn:

Yes.

Jenn:

Which we have talked about, which, again, highly criticized.

Jenn:

Did he go too far?

Jenn:

Did he not go far enough?

Jenn:

Even as historians, we debate the Emancipation Proclamation today.

Jenn:

We can have a whole podcast just about this.

Jenn:

Real quick, it did not free all the enslaved, it only did free the enslaved in

Jenn:

local, in, in, in five designated areas.

Jenn:

All those areas were in the South, all those areas were not under Lincoln's

Jenn:

control at the time, and he did that.

Jenn:

to start kind of an uprising.

Jenn:

So when you think the Emancipation Proclamation wasn't like everybody

Jenn:

who is enslaved is now free.

Jenn:

That's not what it was.

Jenn:

It's the precursor to that.

Jenn:

It will evolve into more, but that's not what it was.

Jenn:

What was happening is he was.

Jenn:

He was losing ground.

Jenn:

Yeah in the south and he was losing.

Jenn:

So he had to make a big move So he had to make a big move And so he thought if

Jenn:

this information could get out to the enslaved in the south and they would

Jenn:

realize that they have been freed Maybe they would revolt become contraband

Jenn:

of war which is what they will become they make their way to certain areas

Jenn:

Fort Monroe, and then they in turn start to fight for the north which

Jenn:

54th Massachusetts is a good example of

Scott:

that.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

And if folks are curious, we mentioned Fort Monroe.

Scott:

We have a, I think we have a previous podcast episode on it and video on it.

Scott:

I'll, I'll link that.

Scott:

If you're curious about kind of how this, the, the enslaved in the South,

Scott:

how they would escape Fort Monroe was basically kind of on that border, you

Scott:

know, it's a union held Fort kind of in Southern territory, but it's still union

Scott:

held and, but they would escape there.

Scott:

There's, there's kind of, we have a whole podcast and a

Scott:

whole video video about that.

Jenn:

So that's where that controversy comes in.

Jenn:

He didn't do enough because he's not freeing everybody.

Jenn:

He's not making a declaration to free everybody.

Jenn:

And it, and it was too much because people are like, you don't even have

Jenn:

control of that area that you're staking that you're freeing people for.

Jenn:

So that's where, and again, it's.

Jenn:

big bold letters.

Jenn:

It's criticism because today we think Emancipation Proclamation.

Jenn:

Awesome.

Jenn:

Great.

Jenn:

How wonderful.

Jenn:

But

Scott:

there was so much conflict.

Scott:

And they, I mean, it's so much so that, you know, they're depicting a

Scott:

scene as you're walking through the museum of, of him with his cabinet

Scott:

and how conflicted his cabinet was.

Scott:

And then you go to a whole nother section of it.

Scott:

The Declaration, and it's on both sides.

Scott:

You've got people for, hey, you should have gone further.

Scott:

They got people against, hey, you shouldn't have done it at all.

Scott:

And there's these peoples and these actors that kind of like these, uh,

Scott:

almost like ghostly images, but they're, they're video, you know, talking.

Scott:

We show a little bit in the video and it's really well done.

Scott:

And then it's Lincoln kind of all by himself.

Scott:

Yes.

Scott:

In this big dark room with just.

Scott:

Constant conflict.

Scott:

Yes.

Scott:

On, on, on each side.

Scott:

Yes.

Scott:

And that's, and it's him standing there just kind of, and I kind

Scott:

of put in the video that he just kind of stayed resolute.

Scott:

He was

Jenn:

resolute and he even his most trusted devices, like you

Jenn:

said, the cabinet was conflicted.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

And what.

Jenn:

What I think the museum does a good job of, and what we stress here,

Jenn:

is what we think of Lincoln today, memory of Lincoln, history of Lincoln,

Jenn:

is not what Lincoln lived through.

Jenn:

Absolutely.

Jenn:

It's not what he was in the moment.

Jenn:

And it's so much more amazing now, when you think about him now, but

Jenn:

then what he was going through.

Jenn:

It was no, it was much more, uh, contentious than what,

Jenn:

what we even think about today.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

So then, then from there, they kind of anchor on that.

Scott:

They talk about how some African Americans would start joining the army.

Scott:

They go through kind of briefly how he would sit.

Scott:

And so, you know, he to kind of get these semi live updates of what's going

Jenn:

on.

Jenn:

He was very, again, he doesn't sleep a lot because of everything happening.

Jenn:

And, uh, yeah, he really liked to get, I mean, that was the most up

Jenn:

to date information at the time.

Jenn:

And so he wanted to get that most up to date information.

Jenn:

And then we talk about him delivering the Gettysburg address.

Jenn:

So Gettysburg is that turning point of the war.

Jenn:

Right.

Jenn:

July 1863.

Jenn:

And this is where really the South is making its big push into the North, right?

Jenn:

The South is making a big push into Pennsylvania and the North

Jenn:

prevails, pushes them back.

Jenn:

And that's when so many men died.

Jenn:

And so in November, Lincoln comes out to dedicate the cemetery and his speech,

Jenn:

probably his most famous speech, probably one of the most famous speeches in

Jenn:

the world, period, two minutes long.

Jenn:

242 words.

Jenn:

I mean, the man didn't have to say much to make a statement.

Jenn:

And it's so fast that even for the historic photography at the time, they

Jenn:

don't have a very good picture of it.

Jenn:

Because the photographers weren't expecting him to get

Jenn:

off the stage so quickly.

Jenn:

Yeah, I

Scott:

think the only picture, good picture they have there is

Scott:

like of him going and walking off the stage in the crowd.

Scott:

In the crowd.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

I think he, his hat's even off.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

Or something like that.

Scott:

And, and you kind of like the, I think we've done previous videos there, we'll

Scott:

link some of those in the show notes here, but you show that, and I remember kind

Scott:

of having to circle it when I edited the video originally, because it's hard to see

Jenn:

Lincoln.

Jenn:

So today.

Jenn:

You know, I'm just gonna talk real quick about the library is there's a

Jenn:

lot of papers Lincoln, especially his presidency But you can imagine there's

Jenn:

still a lot of papers out there that do exist about Lincoln because he was

Jenn:

a lawyer And so he was writing things and he was signing things but I think

Jenn:

the most valuable writing you will ever find at Abraham Lincoln will be

Jenn:

his Drafts of the Gettysburg Address.

Jenn:

Oh, okay.

Jenn:

And, and again, not everything has been found, and that's kind

Jenn:

of what the movie went into.

Jenn:

Things are still out there.

Jenn:

There are still private collectors of those things, and there are people

Jenn:

who have donated a lot to the Library of Congress and to the library.

Jenn:

So thank goodness we have those, but you never know.

Jenn:

If you ever find a Lincoln signature somewhere.

Jenn:

So it goes pretty quickly from Gettysburg to the 13th Amendment.

Jenn:

It fast

Scott:

forwards to the end of the war.

Jenn:

So the war is over.

Jenn:

So the 13th Amendment happens in January of 1865.

Jenn:

The war is over by April of 1865.

Jenn:

And again, Lincoln's got no time, he has no time to just Was it

Scott:

April 9th Appomattox was?

Jenn:

And then he's at Fort Slater April 15th.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

So he has not He doesn't even have a week.

Jenn:

Doesn't even have a week.

Jenn:

And, but I, when we, we show it on Instagram, real quick as a real,

Jenn:

and it's a great part of the video.

Jenn:

And we've talked about this before.

Jenn:

They were supposed to go to another show.

Jenn:

It's one of the first videos we did for Walk With History.

Jenn:

They were supposed to go to another show that night, plans to go to Ford's Theater

Jenn:

instead because they want to see a comedy and Our American Cousin is a comedy

Jenn:

and Mary Todd wants Lincoln to laugh.

Jenn:

They are very amorous at the time because they're like,

Jenn:

now we can have time together.

Jenn:

Now we can enjoy the presidency.

Jenn:

Now we can, and he had just been reelected, just been reelected.

Jenn:

We can mourn our son together.

Jenn:

He was like, let's take some time.

Jenn:

Let's take a trip.

Jenn:

You and I, let's just be together.

Jenn:

And she was very, and they even joke about it at Ford's theater because they go there

Jenn:

with another major and his fiance and they're hugging and kissing and touching.

Jenn:

And the major and his fiance are not even touching each other and Mary Todd's

Jenn:

like, what are, what will they think of

Scott:

us?

Scott:

Well, I mean, if you think about it, they've had this huge weight

Scott:

lifted off their shoulder.

Scott:

The war is over, like the South has surrendered and it's, you're through what

Scott:

you know is going to be the most difficult part of your presidential career.

Scott:

Yes.

Scott:

And

Jenn:

you're like, we did it.

Jenn:

And if you think about them as parents, Robert Todd has just come back.

Jenn:

He was there at Appomattox.

Jenn:

And so he's home at the White House and their other son, Tad, went

Jenn:

to go, took the other tickets.

Jenn:

They were going to, and so they have both boys home, both the

Jenn:

boys that are still living home.

Jenn:

And so they're having this like a great night.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

A date night.

Jenn:

This museum does a fantastic job of when you turn the corner,

Jenn:

you see John Wilkes Booth.

Jenn:

Behind the door of their presidential box.

Jenn:

Yep.

Jenn:

And then you can kind of get another vantage point where you can see where

Jenn:

he would jump from the stage, from the box onto the stage, and then run back.

Jenn:

And in that moment how quickly, boom.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

And, and, and was kind of one of my favorite parts that

Scott:

I was making of the video.

Scott:

Because, one, I found a good song that kind of shows the rising tension,

Scott:

you know, and then it goes to, to boom, you know, the, the president

Scott:

shot and the president's dead.

Scott:

And then kind of, again, it, it, it quickly steps on to, you know, from there.

Scott:

They don't give John Wilkes Booth kind of a ton of airtime inside the museum.

Scott:

They don't really kind of bring him up too much.

Scott:

They just kind of show his character a little bit.

Scott:

Yep.

Jenn:

And I don't even think they talk about the trial at all.

Jenn:

So again, if you want to see about the trial and where it took place,

Jenn:

we have a whole video on that.

Jenn:

But what it goes into is just his...

Jenn:

death.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

And how the coffin lied in state.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

And what it looked like.

Jenn:

And the funeral train.

Jenn:

And the funeral train.

Jenn:

Which was very long.

Jenn:

It was very long.

Jenn:

It kind of took the same path that he took for his inauguration,

Jenn:

because he left Springfield to D.

Jenn:

C.

Jenn:

and he took this big, long trip before he became president.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

It almost took the same trip.

Scott:

It kind of goes up basically north up to Buffalo and then traces

Scott:

the Great Lakes all the way down

Jenn:

to Springfield.

Jenn:

Yes.

Jenn:

And you might wonder, why do we always talk about Erie?

Jenn:

It's because we were, we lived in Erie.

Jenn:

We were stationed in Erie when Scott had his CO command, his commanding officer.

Jenn:

Job tour was in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Jenn:

So we're always interested in what will

Scott:

happen The funny thing is is a lot of historical things happened through

Scott:

Erie because they used to build big, large parts of the railroads and trains there.

Scott:

Yes.

Scott:

So they used to build large parts of that.

Scott:

So of course the train tracks would go through there.

Scott:

Yes.

Scott:

And so in that era, the late 1800s, early 1900s, all through the 1800s really, that

Scott:

was actually a fairly significant part because one, it was on the Great Lakes

Scott:

and two, They're, for some reason, that's where they were building large train parts

Scott:

and rail station parts and it connects

Jenn:

Buffalo and Cleveland, which at the time were some of

Jenn:

your two big industrial cities.

Scott:

There's a lot of history that happened through there.

Scott:

So he, Lincoln's funeral train goes kind of up north and traces the

Scott:

Great Lakes down to Springfield.

Scott:

And they bury him in Springfield.

Scott:

They bury

Jenn:

him in Springfield.

Jenn:

So you get to see what the coffin looked like and what George

Jenn:

Washington's portrait over it.

Jenn:

And then that's really the end of the museum.

Jenn:

And I think it really does a good job of showing you just

Jenn:

how abrupt civil war is over.

Jenn:

The union is brought back together and we, then we lose the president who did that.

Jenn:

And I almost, it's, it's to me, it's kind of serendipitous of America.

Jenn:

We talk, I talk about this at the end with no struggle, there's no progress.

Jenn:

He got us through.

Jenn:

That's why people consider Abraham Lincoln the greatest president we have ever had.

Jenn:

He gets us through this, our country, resolves it, and then he's gone.

Scott:

Well, and, and he, we've talked about it a couple times, you know,

Scott:

and then we'll wrap things up, that he didn't try to imprison or execute

Scott:

any of the leaders of the South.

Scott:

Nope.

Scott:

Right?

Scott:

He immediately wanted to move on towards healing and in a leader like

Scott:

that, setting the stage and setting really the culture of what the

Scott:

next steps of the country will be.

Scott:

I think people don't recognize that enough.

Scott:

And I, and the more I learn about him through doing this channel

Scott:

and the podcast and that is, is there's so much forethought in that.

Scott:

Because you could very easily continue that cycle of bitterness and hey,

Scott:

you're not, you know, you're not ours.

Scott:

Like, we surrendered.

Scott:

You, we didn't want this.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

And then if he had continued and like executed Jefferson Davis and if he had

Scott:

executed generals and this and the other, like, It just would have made it worse.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

So it was very smart of him not to do that.

Scott:

He

Jenn:

was, and it was, it says a lot about a character of a man.

Jenn:

It really does.

Jenn:

So it was a forgiveness without malice.

Jenn:

Remember we talk about that at Appomattox and we, we've done a whole

Jenn:

story about Jefferson Davis and Lee.

Jenn:

And I think if he would have executed those men because how much

Jenn:

they were beloved in the South, he would have created martyrs.

Jenn:

And he would have created a lot.

Jenn:

I mean, it wasn't reconstruction was more like deconstruction.

Jenn:

I think it would have been much worse to have these martyrs to

Jenn:

to hold on to for much longer.

Jenn:

Yeah, Lincoln and I thank goodness Johnson kind of took that from him and

Jenn:

was kind of resolute about the same thing.

Jenn:

But it's an amazing museum.

Jenn:

It is

Scott:

a must see.

Scott:

It's so interactive and friendly for kids and plus we didn't even

Scott:

get to go to the library portion.

Scott:

It was closed that day and we had wanted to go.

Scott:

You could, it, if you were in that part of the country, even if

Scott:

you're not, you should, you really should make a dedicated effort to

Scott:

go see that museum and the library.

Scott:

It's absolutely incredible.

Scott:

It feels like going to Disneyland for half of a day.

Scott:

It's incredible.

Scott:

Um, so, so thank you again to everybody listening.

Scott:

If you guys enjoyed this podcast episode, please share it with a friend.

Scott:

Um, we've got more Lincoln topics coming up.

Scott:

We got to go inside of his home.

Scott:

So if you enjoyed this podcast, please subscribe because we

Scott:

got more on that coming up.

Scott:

We appreciate you.

Scott:

Um, and we rely on your community to grow and we appreciate you all every day.

Scott:

We'll talk to you next time.

Scott:

Thank you.

Scott:

Transcribed

Jenn:

by https: otter.

Jenn:

ai

About the Podcast

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Talk With History
A Historian and Navy Veteran talk about traveling to historic locations

About your hosts

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Scott B

Host of the Talk With History podcast, Producer over at Walk with History on YouTube, Editor of HistoryNewsletter.com
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Jennifer B

Former Naval Aviator turned Historian and a loyal Penn Stater. (WE ARE!) I earned my Masters in American History and graduate certificate in Museum Studies, from the University of Memphis.

The Talk with History podcast gives Scott and me a chance to go deeper into the details of our Walk with History YouTube videos and gives you a behind-the-scenes look at our history-inspired adventures.

Join us as we talk about these real-world historic locations and learn about the events that continue to impact you today!

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Thank you for the great podcasts and for sharing your passion! Love hearing about the locations you visit.