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“Where Lincoln lived as a common man”

Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Lincoln's New Salem is a reproduction of 18th century New Salem, Illinois, where the ex-President once lived as a young man.
Reviewed October 14, 2013

Lincoln's New Salem is a wonderful place for families and couples of all ages! The historic village, open-air museum, and the Museum Gift Shop are a welcome break from the fast-paced modern world. Be sure you talk to the volunteer interpreters - they add so much to your visit with their knowledge of life in 1830s Illinois. And don't forget the snack bar on the way home- great baked goods, sandwiches, and ice cream!

2  Thank Lee S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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170 - 174 of 288 reviews

Reviewed October 9, 2013

Bringing seven years of young Lincoln's life in perspective was a necessary education for us. The buildings and volunteers made that era come to life ... they were all excellent. We are glad we learned about this area when visiting Springfield. One of the best historic recreations we have ever seen ... and we have seen a lot! Also recommend buying the book that describes what we saw ... well-written in the 1950's and still relevant. Just a short, pleasant 20-minute country ride from downtown.

1  Thank BikeLike
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 7, 2013

Who would have guessed SO much happened in such a narrow window of life! The actual location of New Salem where Lincoln taught himself law by firelight in the last original standing Cobblers building. Beautiful grounds and friendly knowledgable staff!

1  Thank Jojo R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 6, 2013

This place is very far from Springfield it was 40 mins from our hotel but it was worth the ride. You get to step back in time to see how Lincoln's house looked he grew up in. There is also a restaurant on site with good food.

Thank Motadean
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 23, 2013

I have been to a number of living history museums. What gives this one an interesting focus is that the reconstruction covers a very narrow window of time, the years when Lincoln lived here, and immediately before and after. As such there is a remarkable consistency to the exhibits. It’s a fairly compact site, as it occupies the exact footprint of the village as it stood, and buildings are in their original locations. It can be seen in about 2 hours if time is limited; half a day if not. I’m a history buff so was there from about noon til closing at 5 pm. Don’t miss the excellent displays in the Visitor Center. I saw them after touring the buildings, and it would have been useful to see them first.

I was there on a Monday in mid-September. There were only 4 costumed interpreters on site. I’m sure on weekends, and in summer, there are more; as I saw no more than 6 visitors the entire time I was there. I asked one volunteer how many they had, and he basically said, “Not enough.” If I lived nearby I would certainly volunteer. The interpreters were excellent and really knowledgeable, offering all sorts of tidbits of interesting information. You could tell they shared a great enthusiasm for local history.

It’s good to know in advance, that on a non-summer weekday, not all the buildings are open for viewing. I knew this in advance, and still wanted to go. But if you want more interpreters you might have to call and find out on which days more are on duty. Only buildings with interpreters are fully open to walk inside. Others have wooden gates where you can easily look inside and view the furnishings. These have signs over the doors to explain the history and owners of the building.

There is a gift shop, in a stone building, at about the furthest point in the building layout. I highly recommend it. Unlike most gift shops, with “Made in China” mass produced souvenirs, this one carries the handiwork of local artisans that are thematically appropriate, such as quilting, crocheting, woodworking, soapmaking, and pottery. There is an excellent selection of small wooden toys that made me wish I still had young children to give them to. I actually bought some things, which is quite unusual for me (there is another much smaller gift shop and café near the Visitor Center. This is a conventional gift shop, and nothing unusual).

There is a saw and grain mill that, though part of the Village, requires a separate drive. Access to it is currently blocked from the main Village due to repairs. But it’s worth seeing. Ask for directions when you arrive. There is no road sign identifying it.

1  Thank linnea56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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