Special exhibit opens for a historic Metamora landmark

By Beau Ebenezer

January 19, 2013 Updated Jan 21, 2013 at 11:06 AM CDT

METAMORA, Ill. -- A local museum is creating a lot of buzz in Central Illinois and in Hollywood.

The Metamora Courthouse is one of the last two eighth judicial courts still standing in Illinois from the 1800s.

For Central Illinois residents, it's a short trip away.

As you walk into the building's historic museum, many are surprised to find out the 16th United States President was once standing in the exact same spot.

"Those are the same planks in that floor that Abraham Lincoln actually walked on and the desk there is the same desk he used. It just gives you the shivers and you're hooked, you're hooked," said Museum Volunteer Dolores Schoolman.

Before becoming President, Abraham Lincoln worked as a lawyer at the Metamora Courthouse for 15 years. In the critically acclaimed film "Lincoln", the court house was mentioned twice.

Museum volunteers said that helped their visitor attendance sky-rocket.

Now, the museum has a brand new exhibit in hopes of drawing even more visitors and history buffs from across the nation.

The Lincoln Images Exhibit displays about 100 different figures of Honest Abe, some of them more "honest" than others.

"I hope they come in with a sense of humor because some of these things are clearly comical and somewhat disrespectful, but it's part of the history," said Metamora Courthouse Manager and Curator Jean Myers.

East Peoria visitor Jim Kunz agreed.

"The exhibit is very interesting. I would liken it to the Reagan Exhibit at Eureka College," he said.

"It's been non-stop. We have a few people right now with us, but there were four people waiting for me at the door when I unlocked it this afternoon. It's been pretty much non-stop since we opened," said Myers.

While many district 8 court houses fell apart due to lack of funding, the Village of Metamora and Myers both agree that with continued interest and volunteer up-keep, Lincoln's Historic past will live on in Central Illinois forever.

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