Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum

Ghosts of the Library

Lincoln's Ghost

Ghosts of the Library is a dramatic and magical special effects presentation that uses Holavision® to capture the mystery and the exciting sense of discovery that scholars and curators feel as they approach a great research collection. Holavision® is a proprietary BRC Imagination Arts-owned technology that allows a live, on-stage actor to appear to control smoke and vapors around him or her, causing the vapors to condense and form images that seem to interact with and respond to the actor. In addition, Holavision® permits the magical “fade away”, dissolve or disappearance of the on-stage live actor.

A live Host, a historian/curator, welcomes the visitors to the library. In combination with state-of-the-art special effects, he will explain the activities, detective work, and discoveries waiting to be made in a great presidential archive.

One item he shows is Mrs. Lincoln’s music box. He plays it for the audience. But then he snaps the music off and poses the question: “So what? Why study all this old stuff? Why even save it? Who cares?”

The Host begins to answer his own questions by describing the collection and the discoveries waiting to be made here. The collection is filled with more than words and thoughts. In this room are the actual objects that Lincoln and others used. As the Host speaks, amazing things start to happen. Holavision® special effects cause the ghosts of Civil War soldiers to rise from the objects he shows the audience. The ghosts of Lincoln, Mary, and their contemporaries momentarily appear and disappear, their translucent images drifting through the “Library.” A quill rises from the library table and begins writing in the air, in Lincoln’s handwriting.

Ghosts of the Library Concept to RealityThe host explains that we save original objects from history because they connect us to the people and events of history and make them real. They help tell us who we are as a country and as a people. History also whispers a hint of who we will become.

Now there is one last surprise. The Host puts on a Civil War coat and “transforms” into a Civil War soldier. He bids farewell and reveals that he too is a ghost, a Civil War soldier who died in battle. As he speaks, the “Library” magically “transforms” into a battlefield. The Host then turns, walks toward the horizon and slowly fades away.


  1. The Journey, Part I – The Pre-Presidential Years
  2. The Journey, Part II – The White House
  3. Ghosts of the Library - Holavision® Theater
  4. The Union Theater

Other Experiences:

  1. Treasures Gallery
  2. Ask Mr. Lincoln
  3. Mrs. Lincoln’s Attic
  4. Illinois Gallery
  5. The Gateway
  6. Restaurant
  7. Gift Shop

Page last updated: July 7, 2009