It's Abe, Honest

For decades, more than 47,000 original documents and artifacts related to the life and times of Abraham Lincoln were housed underneath the Old State Capitol in downtown Springfield, IL, where they were inaccessible to all but a few researchers and scholars. With the completion of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in 2005, many of these items can now be viewed by the general public for the first time. In addition to this, multimedia presentations, seminars, webcasts and satellite broadcasts can be made from the Lincoln Presidential Library to students and other participants the world over.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is a 200,000-square-foot, 2-building complex located in downtown Springfield. The Library is a public, non-circulating research facility that contains material on all aspects of Illinois history. The Museum contains 46,000 square feet of permanent exhibits from Lincoln's boyhood in a crowded Indiana cabin to his assassination at Ford's Theater. Among its attractions are Lincoln's Eyes, a 250-seat, multi-stage and screen presentation; Ghosts of the Library, a holographic theater that brings Lincoln documents and artifacts to life; a Treasures Gallery that houses icons such as the Gettysburg Address; and Mrs. Lincoln's Attic, a separate children's area. There is even a reproduction of the House Chamber in the Old State Capitol where Lincoln's casket lies in state.

The Library's classrooms and conference rooms are perfectly suited for events such as conferences, meetings and seminars. The multi-purpose room, which seats approximately 200 people, features state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment, such as satellite uplink, teleconferencing, videoconferencing and broadcast capabilities. Matt Burns, of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, which administers the Library and other state historic sites and memorials, explained, "The multi-purpose room provides presenters with the latest audio and video technology available. All they have to do is plug in their laptops; a complete array of multimedia presentation equipment, including a visual presenter, DVD player, VCR and more is right at their fingertips."

Presenters are able to display documents, artifacts and other items by placing them on the ELMO EV-4400AF visual presenter, which is located next to the multimedia podium. A camera on the visual presenter captures and displays the images on a screen via a projector or on monitors at remote locations. It eliminates the need for making transparencies and can be used to present everything from text to 3-dimensional objects. Audiences in the Library view the images on a drop-down screen via a ceiling-mounted projector. The person making the presentation can see what is being displayed on the large screen without having to turn away from the audience by watching a 4-inch ELMO color LCD preview monitor.

Along with the visual presenter, the multimedia podium features a JVC single-disc DVD player, Sony 4-head VCR, and Crestron Isys touchpanel control system that enables the speaker to control all of the equipment with ease. Three pan/tilt/zoom cameras, an XGA projector and a large drop-down screen facilitate video presentations. Excellent audio can be heard throughout the room and broadcast via ClearOne digital audio matrix mixers, Shure microphones, Crown amplifiers and speakers by JBL and Klipsch. Processing equipment includes Extron matrix switchers, digital video scaler and video scan converter. Video Images, an Indianapolis, IN-based company specializing in videoconferencing and audiovisual systems integration, was responsible for the installation.

Webcasting and satellite broadcasts can also be made from the multi-purpose room of the Lincoln Library. Burns said, "These capabilities allow real-time presentations to be made for international seminars, conferences and educational events. Students from different locations and countries can interact via web and satellite broadcasts from the Lincoln Library."

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