The Old Fashioned Wonders of New Salem

This summer you and your kids can journey back in time more than 180 years ago. If you head thirty minutes north on Illinois State Highway Route 97 toward the town of Petersburg, you will reach Lincoln’s New Salem State Park just prior to arriving at the town limits.

Volunteer interpreters dressed in period clothing are asked to leave the trappings of the twenty first century behind before they even enter the gates. You won’t hear any cell phones ringing from underneath those long skirts!

Visitors are invited to change their mindset for a time as well and enter a world known by its most famous resident, Abraham Lincoln, as a place of enterprise and opportunity.

The interpreters begin their work at the historic site with an intensive introductory training course that includes exposure to historic facts, dress, food, trade, commerce, craft and language. As they continue their training with seasoned coaches, they can provide you and your family with a unique opportunity to travel back in time.

Admission is a suggested donation of $4.00 per person or $10.00 per family. You will enjoy access to the entire village, the museum at the visitor’s center and a 15 minute video called “The Turning Point.”

Bring along your own picnic or purchase food at the café, located next to one of the village’s two gift shops.

Particularly memorable events include the following:

  • New Salem Summer Festival
  • Candlelight Tour
  • Annual Traditional Music Festival

This journey north, to a day spent literally walking in Lincoln’s footsteps, can be made more noteworthy only by a performance of local actors at New Salem’s Theater In the Park, a modern wooded amphitheater that hosts a range of productions.  

Submitted by Springfield Moms writer Jenn Clark who is married with two children. She and her family have volunteered at New Salem and love to introduce new visitors to the area.

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