If you saw our Night & Day plug last week about the free Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Open House tour on Thursday, Feb. 12 -- make that Saturday, Feb 14. We got word about the switch after we went to press last week.
The tour, the idea of the library and museum's new director Richard Norton Smith, was originally scheduled to last two hours on Lincoln's 195th birthday. The agency changed dates after people complained the window of opportunity was too small for a workday. Construction would have had to shut down, too, says David Blanchette, spokesman for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.
During the tour, about half of both buildings will be accessible, Blanchette says. "Local celebrity media" guides will provide information at various posts and audio tapes will also be available for the self-guided.
Blanchette says the library should be open by the summer. The museum won't be open until 2005.
If you're planning on taking the tour, show up between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the library on the southeast side of Jefferson and Sixth (the museum's on the northwest side). The first 500 to arrive receive a commemorative hard hat.
Local Republicans hoped for a presidential visit at the annual Sangamon County Lincoln Day Luncheon. Tickets for the event didn't include the speaker's name, fueling speculation that George W. Bush would be the surprise guest at the event, which will be held at Prairie Capitol Convention Center at noon today, Feb. 12. Bush did make it to Springfield on Tuesday - Springfield, Missouri, that is. Local Republicans have lined up Judy Baar Topinka, state treasurer, as the featured speaker.
Irv Smith, chairman of the local Republican Party, says he met with Bush's staff two years ago, hoping to arrange a presidential visit. Now Smith says his "greatest hope" is that the president and the national party don't "write off Illinois" this year, given the Democratic resurgence here in the 2002 election.