After more than a year of renovations, The Lincoln-Douglas Debate Interpretive Center reopened this past October. The center was also renamed as “The Lincoln Douglas Debate Museum.”
The museum is open to educate residents and visitors about the significance of the sixth Lincoln-Douglas Debate with state-of-the-art exhibits, displays and professional videos. Visitors learn how the event made an impact on a local and state level, but also on a national level as it became a turning point in Lincoln’s political career which launched him to the path to presidency.
The museum features five new exhibits with display panels and storytelling videos that bring history to life and lets the visitor explore the past, reflect on the importance of these events and envision steps we can take to learn from history. These efforts will continue to build upon the idea that all men are created equal and apply in today’s world we experience much more diversity, appreciation of different cultures and lifestyles, and increasing equity opportunities.
The museum exhibits are titled “A Slave Nation,” “Quincy, the Turning Point,” “Quincy in the Lincoln-era,” “Quincy’s Judge Douglas” and “The Turning Point” gallery. Each exhibit focuses on these particular topics, visually telling historical facts and a timeline of events. Exhibits also present interactive features that make you feel like you’ve stepped back into a different time period.
In addition, there is a mural of the Lincoln-era Adams County Courthouse, a Looking for Lincoln station that gives information about the Lincoln Heritage Trail that pinpoints 18 wayside storyboards throughout Quincy and lists local historical sites, museums and attractions related to Lincoln. Another wall mural from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield outlines the senatorial debates of 1858 and asks the viewer thought provoking questions to let them consider how the world would be different if certain events didn’t occur as they did in the mid-19th century related to this debate over slavery.
During February and in observance of Black History Month, the museum is excited to announce the opening of a new exhibit featuring local Black history. A nonprofit group called Impact Global is a tenant of the museum and staff is available to assist visitors, give tours but also has been given the opportunity to collect stories and artifacts from the current generation that will be used in the exhibits.
The public is invited to a new monthly program series titled “History Happy Hour.” These free events offer historical presentations and discussions that provide awareness of the museum and community engagement. The programs by local historians, authors and researchers will focus on the important context surrounding this history.
The Lincoln Douglas Debate Museum is open Monday-Friday from 10 am-4 pm and by appointment. A new website and phone number will be launched soon. For contact information, call Arts Quincy at
217-222-3432 for assistance.