Reimagining Abe

The newly opened Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum faces derision and criticism

The theater seats tremble, and cannon bursts rock the room as a Civil War battle is played out on multiple moving screens that bob up and down. Welcome to the just opened Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield, Ill.--or, as historian John Simon derisively calls it, "Six Flags over Lincoln." The museum, which is scheduled to have its public dedication this week, has weathered years of cost complaints, construction snafus and accusations of mismanagement. Now the museum is open for visitors--and for debate over whether it has done justice to the 16th President or turned him into a theme-park ride.

The...

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