Boot Hill Museum

***** (5 stars)

One of the best museums I've been to, this incorporates a new facility with extensive exhibits featuring great audio video performances of actors in character that bring the history to life. Then there is a walking tour that takes you through many historic buildings and displays, including actors working in the businesses serving drinks and selling merchandise. Fun for all ages.

Boot Hill Museum
500 W Wyatt Earp Blvd
Dodge City, KS 67801

https://www.yelp.com/biz/boot-hill-museum-dodge-city

Magic Town

Photo of Magic Town - Colorado Springs, CO, United States
Photo of Magic Town – Colorado Springs, CO, United States
Photo of Magic Town - Colorado Springs, CO, United States
Photo of Magic Town – Colorado Springs, CO, United States
Photo of Magic Town - Colorado Springs, CO, United States
Photo of Magic Town – Colorado Springs, CO, United States
Photo of Magic Town - Colorado Springs, CO, United States
Photo of Magic Town – Colorado Springs, CO, United States

***** (5 stars)

Simply amazing. Not only did Michael Garmin capture the people, animals, buildings, and interiors perfectly, but he also created stories you can discern simply from examining the details of each scene.

Many of the rooms incorporate Pepper's Ghost effects to change from one scene to another (hence the "magic") and carefully positioned mirrors extend alleys into the distance.

It would take hours to fully enjoy every detail, but even a brief visit is definitely worth the stop!.

Magic Town
2418 W Colorado Ave
Colorado Springs, CO 80904

https://www.yelp.com/biz/magic-town-colorado-springs

Sultana Disaster Museum

***** (5 stars)

This is a terrific museum dedicated to a disaster that has largely been forgotten, lost in the aftermath of the Civil War. There is a great introductory film, and then several rooms of artifacts and interpretive material about this event, the largest maritime loss of life in American history. The passionate and deeply knowledgeable guide made our visit very special.

Highly recommended.

Sultana Disaster Museum
104 Washington Ave
Marion, AR 72364

https://www.yelp.com/biz/sultana-disaster-museum-marion

Cracker Country

The General Store is good for period-themed souvenirs and treats.
The General Store is good for period-themed souvenirs and treats.

***** (5 stars)

Cracker Country is my favorite part of the Florida State Fair. It's more like visiting a historic area, such as Colonial Williamsburg, where characters in period costumes introduce you to the traditional way of doing things. Very different from the rest of the fair experience!

Cracker Country
4800 Hwy 301 N
Tampa, FL 33610
(813) 627-4225
https://www.yelp.com/biz/cracker-country-tampa

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum

***** (5 stars)

I’m a huge fan of BRC Imagination Arts, the designers of this experience. Bob Rogers is a master storyteller, and this facility demonstrates the power of storytelling like few others I’ve encountered.

It’s amazing how much information you can retain when it is presented in a meaningful and moving context, and that’s what the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum is all about.

Both of the automated shows are real blockbusters, with amazing effects and immersive narration that really draws you in.

The “Holovision” show Ghosts of the Library uses a live performer and many of the effects developed for BRC’s famous Expo ’86 Spirit Lodge Show (and Knott’s Berry Farm’s Mystery Lodge), plus some new effects that will delight even jaded theme park goers like me.

The Lincoln’s Eyes show uses multiple screens and a lot of moving scrims and impressive theatrical sound to very effectively tell Lincoln’s story in an unconventional way.

Don’t let these elaborate shows fool you into thinking this is shallow theme park-like entertainment. You’ll leave them with a truly deep knowledge of history, having learned many things you never knew you didn’t know about a seemingly familiar story.

Equally impressive to me was the way that Lincoln’s childhood and presidency were presented in two separate walkthrough exhibits. Signage didn’t overwhelm, but was just enough to invite reading and interpreting each stop. I wish all museum curators would learn how to do this.

Similarly, the displays of artifacts were perfectly interpreted, with just enough information to draw us in without overwhelming us with verbiage, yet with plenty of hard information that was easy to absorb. I certainly learned ten times as much as I expected to.

This museum is a delightful place to spend as little as a couple of hours, or as much as a full day. Highly recommended.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum
212 N 6th St
Springfield, IL 62701
(217) 558-8934
http://www.yelp.com/biz/abraham-lincoln-presidential-library-and-museum-springfield

Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum

***** (5 stars)

We began our exploration at the museum itself. The ground floor of the museum provides a fairly elaborate interpretation of some of Twain’s books, including Tom Sawyer, The Innocents Abroad, and his time in the gold rush territory of California. While these displays looked nice, they didn’t do a great job of conveying their message, especially to their intended audience, which seemed to be children.

The upper two floors of the museum did a much better job, displaying artifacts and artwork from Twain’s life and books. For those with the patience to read the detailed signage, there was a lot of interesting information here.

The museum ticket is available as a package that also grants access to other buildings down the street, and that’s definitely worthwhile. You can tour the homes that provided the inspiration for Tom, Huck and Becky, and all were interesting.

Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum
120 N Main St
Hannibal, MO 63401
(573) 221-9010
http://www.yelp.com/biz/mark-twain-boyhood-home-and-museum-hannibal