Engage students in local history through maps, primary and secondary sources, and teacher guides.
This site was created by Megan VanGorder for the graduate course, "Understanding Lincoln" through Dickinson College and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. The resource showcases central Illinois' local connection with Lincoln while simultaneously highlighting the educational programs that exist through the McLean County Museum of History.
The project is planned to be utilized by the McLean County Museum and local teachers as an online enrichment tool for their Cemetery Walk program. The Cemetery Walk is an experience in which community members and students go to Evergreen Cemetery and interact with actors who portray a local figure. The walk is a way to excite the community about local history and allow participants to engage in the learning process.
The Cemetery Walk is a joint event put on by the McLean County Museum of History, the Illinois Voices Theatre, and Evergreen Memorial Cemetery. This event has been a treasure in the Bloomington area for over 20 years.
In the future, the museum may integrate the website into their main website and expand the learning modules to include other eras of American history. The modules created focus on Bloomington citizens who have been featured on the Cemetery Walk and have a direct connection to the Abraham Lincoln story.
Praise for Lincoln's Bloomington:
“Megan VanGorder’s Lincoln’s Bloomington, uses primary sources and Google Maps to enhance and deepen visitor’s interactions with living history practitioners in Bloomington, IL. This is an innovative blending of the virtual and actual, meant to complement an existing program and it does so very well.” (Anne Sarah Rubin, University of Maryland/Baltimore)
“Lincoln’s Bloomington” is both a surprise and a joy to use. Who knew that a digital cemetery tour of an Illinois town, other than Springfield, could yield such fascinating people and such understanding of Lincoln’s worlds in his home state? The mixture of technology, local history, actors engaged in reenactment, and real substantive political and social history is marvelous in its whole. Megan VanGorder has developed a very deft touch in combining all these elements of the past, including insightful uses of a local museum. This should make students see all kinds of rich connections between the virtual and the real. It should also make students in Bloomington and all around Illinois understand that the flat prairie they live on is historic ground where all manner of intriguing people lived – and so many of them knew and influenced Lincoln. (David W. Blight, Yale University)
The learning modules are designed for students and history enthusiasts to use local history as a window into the bigger American story. Go to Lincoln's Bloomington Learning Module to get started.