Sunday, June 28, 2009

Congratulations to the Organizers

In my final essay about the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, I want to commend the designers and organizers. Apparently the lion’s share of the kudos goes to BRC Imagination Arts, the principal designers of the exhibits at the APLM. However I want to applaud the people who made the decision to hire BRC. That decision fostered one of the best museums I have ever visited. Why do I think the museum is so good? Because it does its job – it communicates.

Many museum exhibits are dry and without context. Countless museums place objects in glass cases with carefully prepared labels that tell us what the article is. The visitors read the facts and try to put the empty bottle or dead bug into some kind of context. But when you’ve seen one fern fossil, you’ve seen them all. There is no way to appreciably relate to most of what we see.

The ALPM is different. Upon entering the museum, one is confronted by wax figures of the Lincoln family that are startling lifelike. That encounter sets the stage for a sensory experience that replaces the Lincoln myth with facts that humanize the sixteenth president, making him even more remarkable.

Like many, I thought Mr. Lincoln was an impressive former president. Now I see him as an extraordinary human being who, like all of us, was flawed but who had great inner strength tempered by compassion. The more I learned about Mr. Lincoln, the more I felt I knew him as a real person. So much so that when I reached the final display, I was deeply moved.

So, thank you to the organizers and thank you to BRC. Your efforts to communicate and inform are highly successful. Your message was received and is greatly appreciated.

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