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15th Annual History Comes Alive Summer Experience

February 21 @ 9:00 am - August 5 @ 5:00 pm

History Comes Alive Summer Experience

Springfield, IL, February 21 – The 15th Annual History Comes Alive experience will kick off in Springfield, Illinois on May 31, 2024!  New this year, a Gettysburg Address Speech Contest will be held from now through April 1!

Visit Springfield is thrilled to announce a student Gettysburg Address Speech Contest as part of the annual summer program HISTORY COMES ALIVE. Ten students will be selected to present this iconic speech on the steps of the historic Old State Capitol, offering each the unique chance to honor the legacy of President Lincoln, as well as demonstrate their talent and passion for history.

“It was our aim in creating this opportunity to connect young people to the past while honoring Abraham Lincoln’s legacy.  We hope the experience inspires a fresh curiosity for history while empowering students in the creation of their own!  I can’t wait to witness these performances this summer.” Darrin Thurman, Tourism Manager.

The contest is open to all students in grades 3-8 (public, private, parochial, and home school).

Each of the 10 best submissions will travel to Springfield on a designated weekend (between May 31st & August 3rd) for a complimentary overnight hotel stay courtesy of the Illinois Educators Credit Union.

“IECU is proud to sponsor the HCA Gettysburg Speech Contest. As a small business located in Springfield, whose focus is on serving Educators throughout our great state, highlighting the rich history of our city with learning was a perfect match for us. We are looking forward to hearing the winners and hosting their families this summer.” Jody Dabrowski, Chief Executive Officer, Illinois Educators Credit Union.

Each student & their family will enjoy a behind the scenes visit at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum, the Lincoln Home Historic Site, as well as a personal meet & greet with Springfield’s very own Abraham Lincoln portraitist. Students will perform the speech Saturday morning on the steps of the Old State Capitol.

Submissions deadline is April 1st.  All information regarding the contest can be found at:


The 15th season of History Comes Alive will run May 31-August 5, 2024.  From historic portrayals at locations such as the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, the Lincoln Herndon Law Office Visitors Center, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum to a Flag Lowering Ceremony at the Lincoln Tomb with the 114th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry Reactivated, visitors are invited to become a part of living history. Listen to Abraham deliver some of his most famous speeches at the Lincoln Depot, meet and greet both Mary Lincoln and General Ulysses S. Grant, and enjoy live music from the Municipal Band and an ice cream social at Edwards Place.

What’s happening in 2024?

“History Cooks: Food of Lincoln’s Springfield” every Friday at Noon.  Join Springfield area chefs and Lincoln Land Community College’s Culinary Program for this ten-week culinary series at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site.
Each program is complete with a cooking demonstration and a souvenir recipe card so you can re-create the tasty dishes at home!  Make sure to collect them all! – Fridays, May 31 through August 2 at Noon at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site

NEW Summer Downtown Trolley Service – Experience the rich history of our downtown sites and attractions with this free, hop-on, hop-off historic site trolley service.  Available 10am-4pm, Wednesday-Saturday from May 31-August 4.

A Day in the Life – NEW program! Get a behind the scenes look at the life of a local historian, museum curator and state archivist.  This walking tour will last approximately 2.5 hours and include stops at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, the Dana-Thomas House, the Illinois State Museum and the Illinois State Supreme Court archives. Friday at 10am at the Springfield Visitors Center.

Bird Hike with John James Audubon Reenactor at the Adams Wildlife Sanctuary – Friday mornings at 8:30am.

Summer Fest at the Dana-Thomas House – Friday evenings from 5:30pm-7:30pm.

“Date Night at the Dana” – Saturday evenings from 5:30pm-7:00pm.  Exclusive event requiring free ticket reservation.

Additional weekly experiences will be available throughout the city!  Full schedule coming soon.

Check for updates at: www.VisitSpringfieldIllinois.com/landing/historycomesalive.aspx.

About Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau –

The Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau (SCVB) is the official destination marketing organization for the City of Springfield, Illinois.  The SCVB markets the capital city as a unique convention, meeting and leisure destination in support of our City, our community and our hospitality partners.


February 21 @ 9:00 am
August 5 @ 5:00 pm
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