SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield is preparing to unveil a new exhibit on four U.S. presidents with ties to Illinois.

It’ll explore what they had in common and how their time in the state affected their lives.

The exhibit “From Illinois to the White House: Lincoln, Grant, Reagan, Obama,” will open Friday, The State Journal-Register reported. It’s part of the state’s bicentennial celebration and will run through the end of the year.

The exhibit includes historic artifacts showing the presidents’ achievements as politicians and communicators, including the last ax used by Abraham Lincoln. It also includes items from the presidents’ wives, such as Michelle Obama’s oath as an attorney.

“Michelle Obama is probably the most accomplished of the first ladies,” said state historian Samuel Wheeler. “We have the attorney oath she signed. It’s one of the pieces that illustrates the amazing life of Michelle Obama.”

Alan Lowe, executive director of the presidential library museum, said Illinois’ “200th birthday is the perfect time for people to get to know these fascinating leaders.”

“This nation would be much different today without the contributions of these four presidents, and they in turn would have been much different without Illinois’ influence on their character and careers,” Lowe said.


Information from: The State Journal-Register, http://www.sj-r.com