Dead Men Do Tell Tales at The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

Posted by Brendan Brehm on Saturday, February 25th, 2012

Ghosts of the Library by BRC Imagination Arts

Do you believe in ghosts? Even if you don’t, you have to admit that they make a good subject for entertainment. There’s something in us that is fascinated by the appearance of otherworldly creatures: especially when they turn out to be rather charming, such as the ghouls that inhabit Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (ALPLM) in Springfield, Illinois is haunted, but the ghosts aren’t there just to party it up. The ghosts you’ll encounter at the presidential library are there to help the curators teach their guests about the importance of preserving history.

This phantasmal exhibit is the work of attraction design firm BRC Imagination Arts. If you’ve been keeping up with, then you’ll remember BRC from an interview we conducted with them a little while back. Just to jog your memory a little, BRC is responsible for a number of high-profile projects, such as the Expo 2010 Shanghai, the Heineken Experience, and the Hyundai Visitor Center in Korea. Each of these projects, as well as the ALPLM, illustrate BRC’s imaginative approach to attraction design.

Ghosts of the Library at Lincoln Presidential Library

The ALPLM is home to many informative galleries and interesting live shows. However, the centerpiece of all these attractions is BRC’s “Ghosts of the Library.” This totally unique presentation mixes live acting with BRC’s own Holavision® technology. Invented in 1986 by BRC’s founder, Bob Rogers, Holavision® is a special effects theater in which floating animated characters and images appear to interact with live actors; but, it doesn’t stop there. Holavision® can also apply special effects to the live actors, such as making them disappear into thin air. Even if you haven’t seen this particular show before, it is still possible that you have already seen the technology. It is also currently used in the “Mystery Lodge” at Knott’s Berry Farm and the “Animation Celebration” at Universal Studios Japan.

Ghosts of the Library Show by BRC Imagination Arts

Holavision® is put to work in the “Ghosts of the Library” show helping a curator describe what happens inside the presidential library archive. The stage is a replica of the library archive and as the curator moves around the archive discussing the various materials stored there, ghosts suddenly appear in order to illustrate historical events. At one point, as the curator opens a book, an entire scene from the civil war leaps from the pages into the middle of the room. Later on, Lincoln himself makes an appearance in the archive before vanishing back into the ether as ghosts are wont to do. More than any other show we’ve ever seen before, “Ghosts of the Library” visually reinforces the way in which past events can teach us about who we are today.

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