The Lincoln experience

Up-to-date history
The opening earlier this year of the $90 million Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois, sparked a battle over the place of technology in museums. Traditionalists among historians and museum directors wrung their hands at the computer-generated special effects and lifelike fiberglass figures, deriding the effort to popularize history as “Six Flags over Lincoln” or “Lincoln Disneyfied.” But advocates for the futurized museum asked how, in an age of cell phones and ADHD, the interest of young people can be captured without a bit of whiz-bang.

The latter not only won this battle, but may have won the war over museum design for the foreseeable future. For the new Lincoln museum is often crammed full of visitors, and is receiving guests from other museums who are thinking of imitating what they see.

 

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