Lincoln's Springfield explores the stories of six members of Lincoln's community whose diverse life experiences illustrate the promise and potential of the American experiment. Using original graphic narratives, full-color illustrations, and interactive features, this exhibit was designed with a 10-14 year old audience in mind, while appealing to visitors of all ages. This exhibit was a project of Lincoln Presidential Foundation and Lincoln Home NHS. It is the first-ever exhibit designed for a youth audience and first new exhibit in over 20 years at Lincoln Home NHS.
Q. Where is Lincoln’s Springfield located?
A. The exhibit is located inside the historic Corneau House, which is located diagonally across from Lincoln Home within the 12-acre National Historic Site.
Q. What is the Corneau House?
A. The Corneau House is named for Charles Corneau, who purchased the house six years after it was built in 1849. Corneau was a druggist and research indicates the Lincoln family purchased medicine at his store.
Q. Is the exhibit free/is there an admission fee to visit?
A. Lincoln's Springfield is free and open to the public daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., which are standard exhibit operating hours for Lincoln Home NHS. Visit their website for current operating status.
Q. What is the size of the exhibit/interior of the Corneau House?
A. The exhibit occupies approximately 1,000 sq. feet, the entire interior of Corneau House.
Q. Who led the project?
A. Lincoln Presidential Foundation led the project in partnership with Lincoln Home National Historic Site, a unit of the National Park Service.
Q. Who designed the exhibit?
A. Lincoln Presidential Foundation contracted McCullough Creative for exhibit design, production, and installation. McCullough Creative is based in Dubuque, Iowa.
Q. How was the exhibit funded?
A. Lincoln Presidential Foundation funded the exhibit thanks to a lead gift from the M.G. Nelson Family Foundation. Other individual and foundation contributions provided additional support.
Q. Whose stories are depicted in the exhibit?
A. In addition to providing context about the Corneau family that lived in the house, the exhibit illustrates the stories of six Springfield residents from Lincoln’s time, including:
- Henry Carrigan, an Irish immigrant and hotel keeper who ran for office as a Democrat.
- Charlotte Rodriguis De Souza, a Portuguese refugee and talented seamstress who worked for the Lincolns, crafting dresses that Mary took to Washington.
- William Donnegan, a shoemaker from Kentucky and an Underground Railroad conductor who was lynched in the 1908 Springfield Race Riot.
- Jameson Jenkins, born in North Carolina, fled due to changes in NC black laws and became an advocate for freedom, working as an Underground Railroad conductor.
- Francis Springer, orphaned at a young age to German immigrant parents, enlisted as a Civil War chaplain, advocating for freedmen, refugees, and orphans.
- Mariah Vance, born in Illinois to a mother who was formerly enslaved, served as an indentured servant and was later asked by Lincoln to help his family and work for them after Eddie’s death.