I Have Lived: Home in Illinois” tells the stories of 31 people who
lived in Illinois. Some achieved tremendous success, others endured
terrible hardships, and many fought to make the world a better
place. But all of them were shaped by their years in Illinois.
The exhibit includes
Black Hawk, the Sauk leader who refused to be driven away from the
land where he grew up Ritta DeFreitas, a young immigrant who worked
for Abraham and Mary Lincoln.
Michelle Obama, who started out in a Chicago bungalow
and wound up in the White House Richard Pryor, who grew up in Peoria
and used humor to make Americans face difficult truths.
The exhibit opens March 23 and runs through Jan. 21, 2024, in the
museum’s Illinois Gallery, a space used for highlighting Illinois
history as part of the ALPLM’s role as the state historical library.
The exhibit is free with regular museum admission.
“Illinois has welcomed refugees and entrepreneurs. It
has produced artists and reformers. It offered a helping hand to
some and a cold shoulder to others. Every one of them had a
different idea of what it meant to call Illinois their home,” said
Christina Shutt, executive director of the Abraham Lincoln
Presidential Library and Museum. “What could be a better way to
connect with people of the past, both famous and unknown, than by
focusing on the very personal idea of home?”
The stories are told through photographs and rare artifacts.
Visitors will see a photo locket carried by Mary Lincoln, a first
edition of Black Hawk’s autobiography and Ronald Reagan’s college
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They’ll also find a sculpture that was displayed in
the Lincoln home, a table designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and a
Supreme Court ruling that changed the life of playwright Lorraine
Visitors will be
able to listen to interviews with current Illinois residents about
their thoughts on home. Questions throughout the exhibit will prompt
visitors to think about what home means to them, and they’ll be able
to share their answers at the end.
The exhibit takes its name from a phrase Lincoln used when saying
farewell to the city of Springfield for the final time: “Here I have
lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young to an old
man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now
leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return …”
The exhibit is sponsored in part by Isringhausen Imports of
The mission of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
is to inspire civic engagement through the diverse lens of Illinois
history and sharing with the world the life and legacy of Abraham
Lincoln. We pursue this mission through a combination of rigorous
scholarship and high-tech showmanship built on the bedrock of the
ALPLM’s unparalleled collection of historical materials – roughly 13
million items from all eras of Illinois history.
For more information, visit