Lincoln the inventor
The worlds of invention and Lincoln overlap on Sept. 14 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
Special program for children ages eight to 12 years old

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[September 13, 2019]    SPRINGFIELD – Abraham Lincoln was no Thomas Edison or Alexander Graham Bell, but he did have an inventive mind. He is the only president to hold a patent, for a device to buoy steamboats over shoals.

Children will be able to learn about Lincoln’s invention and the broader world of 19th century technology at a free event Sept. 14 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

“Civil War Tech: Lincoln’s Patent” is open to students ages 8-12. This two-hour event begins at 10 a.m. in the library building (112 N. Sixth Street, Springfield). Space is limited, so make reservations by visiting www.presidentlincoln.  and clicking on “special event reservations.”

Students will be divided into groups and given a problem related to 19th century issues like plumbing or medicine. Using teamwork and creativity, each group will invent something to solve the problem. They will then explain their inventions to a panel of “investors” before receiving a “patent.”

The children will learn about Lincoln’s love of technology. They will also leave with a firm understanding of patents, the importance of innovation and the ties between Lincoln’s views on ingenuity and forced labor.

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Another Civil War Tech event is coming up Nov. 2. It will examine the science used by people escaping slavery on the Underground Railroad, from medicine to disguises to navigation.

Civil War Tech melds science, technology, engineering and mathematics education with history. Thousands of students have participated in the program at the presidential library and at schools around central Illinois.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is dedicated to telling the story of America’s 16th president through old-fashioned scholarship and modern technology.

The library holds an unparalleled collection of Lincoln books, documents, photographs, artifacts and art, as well as some 12 million items pertaining to all aspects of Illinois history. The museum uses traditional exhibits, eye-catching special effects and innovative story-telling techniques to educate visitors.

For more information, visit

[Christopher Wills
Communications Director
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum]


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