SPRINGFIELD – The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum has won a national “Leadership in History” award for its exhibit exploring the many ways and reasons that people have made Illinois their home over the centuries. The exhibit, “Here I Have Lived: Home in Illinois,” is now available online so that people anywhere in the world can explore the lives of immigrants, Native Americans, future presidents and social activists.

The award was bestowed by the American Association for State and Local History. The association’s awards, now in their 79th year, are the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history. “The winners represent the best in the field and provide leadership for the future,” the association said.

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The presidential library has produced an online version of “Here I Have Lived,” with photos, videos, audio and text descriptions of fascinating people from Illinois. It can be found at www.HereIHaveLived.com.

The exhibit features dozens of people, including:

  • Black Hawk, the Sauk leader who refused to be driven away from the land where he grew up
  • Ritta DeFreitas, a Portuguese immigrant who worked for Abraham and Mary Lincoln
  • Michelle Obama, who started out in a Chicago bungalow and made it to the White House
  • Richard Pryor, who grew up in Peoria and used humor to make Americans face difficult truths.
  • Oscar Micheaux, a farm boy who broke barriers for Black artists in Hollywood
  • Louisa Phifer, who ran a farm and raised seven children while her husband served in the Civil War.

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ALPLM Executive Director Christina Shutt was the exhibit curator.

“We wanted to give visitors a sense of the incredible breadth of Illinois history while also keeping the spotlight on people, not lists of dates and places. What better way to connect the people of today with the people of yesterday than by focusing on the very personal idea of home?” Shutt said. “This recognition by the American Association for State and Local History is truly an honor. It’s a testament to the countless hours of hard work by the whole ALPLM team.”

Lance Tawzer, the ALPLM’s director of exhibits and shows, also thanked the American Association for State and Local History.

“Creating this exhibit required imagination, hard work, organization and painstaking craft by many, many people,” Tawzer said. “We’re so happy the exhibit has a new home on the internet, so all these stories will continue to inform and entertain people about the state’s fascinating legacy.”

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