As the new year begins, we bid an affectionate farewell to 2009 and the extended celebration of the Abraham Lincoln bicentennial. If the decrease in Lincoln-related activities depresses you, and if you are the sort of person who likes to start big projects with the start of the new year, the Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, along with the Old State Capitol Foundation and the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, has the perfect activity for you.
For those --like myself -- who live outside of central Illinois, it can be difficult to visit the Lincoln related sites. Now you can bring some Lincoln-related sites into your home. The IHPA website included instructions for making scale models of several Lincoln sites, including the Lincoln home, the Lincoln gravesite, two of the three state capitol buildings Lincoln knew (the second Vandalia capitol and the Old State Capitol in Springfield), and the Western Depot.
Evidently, you simply print out the color patterns on cardstock, and carefully cut and glue as directed. The log cabins look small, but fairly easy. The impressive Old State Capitol requires 41 pages of cardstock (.pdf takes a bit to download) and is, even according to the IHPA, "not for the faint-hearted."
I suppose that few people would display all of these buildings (though they would be fun to make with kids of the right age). But if you wanted to surprise your friends, you could make the models, adorn them model wreaths and greenery, and display them next Christmas instead of the more expensive New England villages that so many people now have. It could be the next part of a themed Lincoln Christmas display, with a tree featuring Lincoln ornaments (such as these recent ones: here, here, here, and here), a Lincoln nutcracker (mine looks similar to this one), and a Lincoln village. I suppose it's only a matter of time before someone creates a kitschy Lincoln nativity set to complete the ensemble. (Having imagined that, I know envision a gangly teenage Dennis Hanks in place of the wise men, though I imagine he didn't bring gold, frankincense, or myrrh. If he did, I'm sure he would have told people about it later in life. But I digress into heretical flights of fancy.)
Because now, having finished putting the decorations back in storage, is the perfect time to prepare for Christmas 2010: A Very Lincoln Christmas. On a more serious note, the models are a good idea. Happy New Year!