A “Night at the museum?”


Abe & Mary- wrongsided

Abe & Mary- wrongsided

Ah, a Lincoln museum! Sooner or later you’re bound to visit one. For me, any visit to any Lincoln museum is “almost heaven” (with apologies to John Denver). My first time to this particular museum was in 2007. I’m not going to name which museum it was. If you have been to it, you’ll know which one it was after I describe it a bit. The museum is small but has two stories. Naturally, I enjoyed the paintings, artifacts, and the gift shop (who doesn’t enjoy a gift shop?). The highlights of the museum are the life size dioramas that are set up chronologically pertaining to Lincoln’s life. So, among the many diorama displays, there is the young Lincoln tending store in New Salem, the political candidate Lincoln in debate with Stephen Douglas, and President Lincoln having a photograph taken in a studio. The last diorama (appropriately so), depicts Abraham and Mary Lincoln sitting in the box at Ford’s Theater. President Lincoln was in the red rocker, as expected. Mary was by his side, ok-so far so good. But there was something wrong with the scene, something out of place. Then it hit me! Abraham and Mary had switched seats! President Lincoln was actually seated in the corner of the box. He was on the right side in the corner (of the box)  if you were looking up at the box that night of April 14, 1865. But the museum diorama had them seated in the reverse, placing Mary in the corner end (see above picture). At that point my humor kicked in. I had just seen the movie ‘Night at the Museum’ starring Ben Stiller. In that film the museum display figures come alive at night and move around freely. So that must have been what happened! At night, in that Lincoln museum, Abe and Mary had roamed around and had gotten confused when they returned to the Ford’s Theater box (smile).


In the end, I was somewhat distressed. How could a museum make a mistake like that? If people can’t depend on museums to get it right, who can they trust? I pointed out the problem to the staff worker there in the gift shop. She didn’t seem alarmed. “Maybe I’m looking too closely, perhaps?” was my thought. She simply answered that she would let the owner know of my concern. Well, it did seem like it was a trivial thing to me (and it still doesn’t). When I returned home, I sent off an email to the museum to put it in writing. I never received a reply. I also haven’t been back to the museum. For all I know, the Lincolns are still frolicking about at night in that museum. I hope they’re having fun. Maybe that’s what they need anyway. The real Lincolns had so few fun times together, especially during the war years. Could someone please tell the diorama Lincolns to, at least, return to their correct seats at the end of the night. There’s enough misinformation out there as it is without adding to the confusion.



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5 Responses to “A “Night at the museum?””

  1. Geoffrey says:

    Enjoyed the post very much-laughed out loud!

  2. B. Nash says:

    Since I know where “there” is- maybe you will one of these days!

  3. B. Nash says:

    That’s very funny. Lincoln’s law partner William Herndon might have agreed with you. He had no use for Mary. He claimed that Lincoln’s marriage to her was horrible.

  4. Nate says:

    Maybe Abe told her to sit there so JWB will get her instead 😛

  5. Chris Nash says:

    haha thats pretty funny, I would like to visit there 😀

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