Skip to Content
200 North Main St | Bloomington, Illinois | 309-827-0428

Saturday, July 20

Lincoln's Festival on Route 66

Starts at 9:00 AM

It’s time once again for the annual Lincoln’s Festival on Route 66, this year being held on July 19, 20, and 21. Activities during the festival weekend to include; living history performances, a cruise-in for car enthusiasts around the Museum Square, period crafts and children’s activities on the Museum’s lawn. Civil War skirmishes and cavalry encampment, walking tours, a vintage bicycle display, plus speakers and musicians to share the journey along the prairie path on the Mother Road.

On Saturday, July 20, we will feature the highly popular So you think you know Lincoln and Kicking it on Route 66 trivia games.  Contestants can test their knowledge of our 16th President of the United States and the entire Route 66.  Prizes will be awarded for correct answers! Trivia will continue on Sunday, July 21 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Lincoln and Route 66 themed crafts for children of all ages are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday’s events begin 11:00 a.m. with the Museum’s Executive Director Emeritus, Greg Koos, who will lead the highly popular walking tour of Lincoln sites in Downtown Bloomington.  The tour lasts approximately 45 minutes and participants will be able to gain unique insight into Lincoln, his friends and associates in Bloomington, and the town where he spent more time than any other place outside of Springfield.  Those interested in joining this tour must meet inside the Museum’s Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center located on the ground floor of the Museum. 

At 1:30 p.m. in the second floor Governor Fifer Courtroom, retired historian for the National Park Service, Frank Norris, will present Courageous Motorists: African American Pioneers on Route 66. Driving on Route 66 suggests the freedom of the open road, the chance to discover America behind the wheel, and the fascination of heading out west. However, as the recent motion picture The Green Book suggests, African Americans during the Jim Crow era could not drive on either Route 66 or other American roads without navigating an oftentimes hostile world in which most motels, restaurants, and other roadside services refused service to them. Norris’s presentation will show what it was like for African Americans to drive west on Route 66, and how that experience changed over the years as the west developed and racial attitudes began to change. 

The day’s activities will conclude at 7:00 p.m. with the theatrical production Mr. Lincoln, by Herbert Mitgang and performed by John O’Connor. At times comic, at other times poignant, Mr. Lincoln is a one-man play that hits the high points of Lincoln’s personal and political life.  Actor and political writer for the Associated Press in Springfield, John O’Connor, portrays Lincoln with questioning, resolve, struggle, warmth, humor, and just about every other adjective you can imagine as the audience is taken on a two-act journey into the struggles and triumphs of our sixteenth President. Tickets will be $12 for the general public and $10 for members of the Museum. Tickets will go on sale June 3 and be available for purchase at the Museum or online via the Museum’s website.

Keep an eye out for Mr. Lincoln  (Kevin Wood) who will be visiting the Museum during the festival. He will be available to meet visitors and even do a photo or two. 

For more information about Lincoln’s Festival on Route 66 and a complete listing of activities at all participating locations, please visit http://www.lincolnsfestival.net/. 

Saturday, July 20

Courageous Motorists: African American Pioneers on Route 66 presented by NPS historian Frank Norris

Starts at 1:30 PM

At 1:30 p.m. in the second floor Governor Fifer Courtroom, retired historian for the National Park Service, Frank Norris, will present Courageous Motorists: African American Pioneers on Route 66. Driving on Route 66 suggests the freedom of the open road, the chance to discover America behind the wheel, and the fascination of heading out west. But as the recent motion picture The Green Book suggests, African Americans during the Jim Crow era could not drive on either Route 66 or other American roads without navigating an often hostile world in which most motels, restaurants, and other roadside services refused service to them. Norris’s presentation will show what it was like for African Americans to drive west on Route 66, and how that experienced changed over the years as the west developed and racial attitudes began to change. 

Saturday, July 20

Mr. Lincoln- a play by Herbert Mitgang

Starts at 7:00 PM

As part of the Museum’s activities for the annual Lincoln’s Festival on Route 66, the theatrical production “Mr. Lincoln,” by Herbert Mitgang and performed by John O’Connor, will be presented at the Museum on Saturday, July 20 at 7:00 p.m. in the second floor courtroom.

At times comic, at other times poignant, “Mr. Lincoln” is a one-man play that hits the high points of Lincolns personal and political life. Actor and political writer for the Associated Press in Springfield, John OConnor, portrays Lincoln with questioning, resolve, struggle, warmth, humor, and just about every other adjective you can imagine as the audience is taken on a two-act journey into the struggles and triumphs of our sixteenth President.

Since first being produced for New Salems Theatre in the Park in 2014, this production of Mr. Lincoln has also been presented at various Illinois location including the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and the Lincoln Home National Historic Site Visitors Center in Springfield, Playhouse on the Square (Jacksonville), the Speakeasy Art Center (Pekin), and at the Winneshiek Playhouse (Freeport).
John O’Connor is a central Illinois actor with a long list of distinguished credits including his portrayal of the Union Captain at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum’s “The Civil War” in Union Square Park, John Proctor in The Crucible at New Salems Theatre in the Park, Captain Von Trapp The Sound of Music at the Springfield Muni Opera, and the title role in their Sweeney Todd. Other favorite roles include Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls, Daddy Warbucks in Annie, Captain Hook in Peter Pan, Frank Butler in Annie Get Your Gun, Adam Pontipee in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and John Wilkes Booth in Assassins.

Tickets are $12 for the general public and $10 for members of the Museum. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Museum, over the phone for will call, or online by clicking this link.

For more information about this event, please contact the Education Department at (309) 827-0428 or education@mchistory.org.
For more information about Lincolns Festival on Route 66 and a complete listing of activities at all participating locations, please visit http://www.lincolnsfestival.net/.

Sunday, July 21

Lincoln's Festival on Route 66

Starts at 10:00 AM

It’s time once again for the annual Lincoln’s Festival on Route 66, this year being held on July 19, 20, and 21. Activities during the festival weekend will include: living history performances, a cruise-in for car enthusiasts around the Museum Square, period crafts and children’s activities on the Museum’s lawn, Civil War skirmishes and cavalry encampment, walking tours, a vintage bicycle display, plus speakers and musicians to share the journey along the prairie path, to the steel rails, and on to the Mother Road.

The Museum will be hosting a variety of activities again during the festival this year. All activities are free unless otherwise noted.

From 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. we will again feature the highly popular So you think you know Lincoln and Kicking it on Route 66 trivia games are back again! Contestants can test their knowledge about our 16th President of the United States and about the entire Route 66.  Prizes will be awarded for correct answers! Lincoln and Route 66 themed crafts for children of all ages will also be offered.  

From 10:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. in the Governor Fifer Courtroom, Encounters with Lincoln’s Legacy will feature members of the Historic Acting Troupe who will portray men and women from McLean County whose experiences provide a travelogue that spans the generations and the miles, highlighting sights, sounds and ideas that echoed throughout the nation. This year’s feature characters will include hackney driver Ab Hawkins and former Vice President of the United States Adlai E. Stevenson II; land developer William Flagg and his daughter Sarah; Ange Milner and June Rose Colby, who were educators during the early years at Illinois State Normal University; Lura Eyestone, who spent 38-years training future teachers at ISNU; and John and Mary Wickizer, whose marriage was rocked by scandal.

Keep an eye out for Mr. Lincoln who will be visiting the Museum during the festival too. He will be available to meet visitors and even do a photo or two. Check back in our July monthly mailer for more details about his visit.

For more information about Lincoln’s Festival on Route 66 and a complete listing of activities at all participating locations, please visit http://www.lincolnsfestival.net/.