Presidential libraries dot the American countryside, from FDR’s modest library in Hyde Park, New York to Bill Clinton’s more modern display in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Now, 140 years after his assassination, Abraham Lincoln has his library in Springfield, Illinois, and the Lincoln Museum will open its doors very soon as well.
The purpose of such institutions is to provide a historical portrayal of those who occupied the Oval Office. But some argue the presidential libraries are more about tourist attractions than historical preservation.
Richard Norton Smith has been in charge of the libraries of Presidents Hoover, Eisenhower, Ford, and Reagan. He’s now overseeing the final touches on the new Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois.