Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site


15588 History Lane (Cross Street: Route 97)
Petersburg, IL 62675

The village of New Salem was home to Abraham Lincoln from 1831 to 1837, a transformative period in which he successively tried his hand as a store clerk, soldier, store owner, postmaster, county surveyor and, finally, member of the Illinois General Assembly and lawyer. Interest in reconstructing this historic village dates back to 1906, with many of the log cabins, set on their original foundations, constructed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The only original building is the Onstot Cooper Shop, ironically one of the few that is ramped. Others with wheelchair access include the Second Berry-Lincoln Store, Rutledge Tavern and Miller Blacksmith Shop. During warmer months, historical interpreters in period clothing talk about life in New Salem and demonstrate traditional skills, from making a wooden scoop to baking a pie in a fireplace.

At the modern Visitor Center one can pick up a map for the self-guided tour, view an orientation video, visit the excellent museum and borrow a wheelchair or Braille guide. Accessible restrooms are available here and at the opposite end of the village next to the Museum Store. Other facilities include a small deli, souvenir shop, outdoor theatre, picnic area and campground. In addition, an accessible picnic pavilion and playground are located along the Sangamon River. New Salem is approximately 20 miles northwest of Springfield near the town of Petersburg.


  • Nov 1-Feb 28
    • Wed-Sun: 8am-4pm
  • March 1-April 15
    • Wed-Sun: 9am-5pm
  • April 16-Sept 15:
    • Daily: 9am-5pm
  • Sept 16-Oct 31:
    • Wed-Sun: 9am-5pm
  • Closed for major holidays


  • Suggested donation: Adults $4, Children $2, Family $10
  • Group tours by appointment only. For groups of 15 or more, call the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau, 217-789-2360, or reserve online at

Parking/Loading Zone

  • Accessible loading zone
  • Private parking lot—designated accessible spaces

Educational Programs

  • Type—Historic interpretation, lecture series, weekend workshops, summer day camp, class trips
  • Ages served—All
  • Disabilities served—All, no targeted programming
  • Note: Classroom materials available online

Features for People with Service Animals

  • Natural surface/grassy dog relief area
    • Location—throughout New Salem

Hearing >>
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Features for People with Hearing Loss

  • Print information—
    • Brochure with map and details on each structure
    • Museum exhibits
  • Captioning of videos
    • Orientation film
  • Script/text of video
    • Available from—Information Desk
  • Visual indicators in elevator
  • Strobe fire alarms in public areas and restrooms

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Features for People with Vision Loss

  • Orientation to visitor center—on request
  • Information in alternate formats—Braille
    • Available from—Information desk
    • Borrowers must leave photo ID
  • Elevator has audible indicators
  • Braille/Tactile Signage—elevator controls, hoistways, restrooms
  • Interior Signage—large print, high contrast, non-glare
  • Height clearance at least 80"
  • No undetectable protruding objects in path of travel

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Accessible Entrance—Visitor Center

  • Level entry
  • Door has at least 32" clearance
  • Threshold less than 1/2" beveled
  • 2 doors in series—adequate space between
  • Easy grasp/lever handle or none

Assistive Equipment for Guests with Physical Disabilities

  • Wheelchairs
  • Available from—Information desk

Interior Access—Visitor Center

  • Corridor/path of travel at least 36" wide
  • Ramps provide access to one or more areas
    • Lower level of museum


  • Door clearance at least 36"
  • Car size at least 54" x 80" with centered door or 54" x 68" with side door
  • Elevator controls 54" or less

Accessibility—Historic Buildings

  • Ramped access
    • Henry Onstot Cooper Shop
    • Rutledge Tavern
  • Level access
    • Joshua Miller Blacksmith Shop
    • Second Berry-Lincoln Store—via sidewalk
    • New Salem Saw and Gristmill
      • Along Route 97 with designated parking nearby
  • Note: Most of the 23 structures have one or more steps. Some interiors are meant to be viewed just from outside. At others, historical interpreters invite visitors in or will come out to interact and show household objects from the period.

Exterior Access

  • Sidewalk/path of travel at least 36" wide
  • Surface material—asphalt, concrete
  • Note: The village area is level with no steep slopes

Accessible Facilities/Amenities

  • Restaurant/Cafe—New Salem Deli
    • Accessible restroom in or near the restaurant
  • Visitor Center
  • Information Counter—36" max.
  • Brochure rack
  • Seating—rustic benches throughout village
  • Gift Shops
    • Souvenir Shop next to New Salem Deli
    • Museum Store at opposite end of village (closed in winter)
    • Sales counter/section 36" max
    • Space to turn/maneuver
  • Drinking Fountain
  • Picnic pavilions—along Sangamon River
  • Ramped playground equipment—along Sangamon River
  • Campground
    • 2 accessible camp sites
    • Adapted restroom/shower

Exhibits—Visitor Center

  • On accessible route
  • Space to approach/view/maneuver
  • Freestanding cases 36"-39" max.
  • Wall hung displays 54" to center line—slightly higher
  • Items viewed from above, 36" to top of item/case
  • Interactive displays are wheelchair accessible
  • Interactive displays have easy to use controls
  • Labels are viewable from seated position

Performance Space

  • Auditorium
    • Location—Visitor Center
    • Fixed seating—benches
    • Wheelchair seating
      • Number of Spaces—Multiple
      • Locations—Rear center and both sides
    • Companion seating
      • Fixed, alongside
  • Theatre in the Park
    • Location—Behind Visitor Center
    • Fixed seating—seats with arms
    • Wheelchair seating
      • Number of Spaces—Multiple
      • Locations—Behind last row; integrated spaces in front row
    • Companion seating
      • Fixed, alongside—front row
      • Fixed, in front—back row
    • Note: Seats can be removed to create additional integrated seating in back row


  • New Salem Deli
  • Location—Next to Visitor Center
  • Menu on wall/sign only
  • Counter service only
    • Staff will assist/carry food to table
  • Counter/buffet 36" high or less
  • Pay at cashier counter
  • 36" high or less
  • Wheelchair accessible tables
    • Knee clearance at least 27" high by 30" wide
    • Surface no more than 34" high
    • Pedestal does not block toe clearance
  • 36" path to/between tables
  • Chairs with arms
  • Note: Outdoor picnic tables not wheelchair accessible

<< Vision Restroom >>
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Accessible Public Restroom

  • Men's and Women's
  • Location
    • Visitors Center
  • Access symbol identifies facility
  • Entry door at least 32" clearance
  • Threshold less than 1/2" beveled
  • Space in restroom to maneuver—5' by 5' or T-shaped space to turn
  • Wheelchair stall 60" by 58"/60" minimum
  • Stall door at least 32" clearance
  • Stall door swings out
  • Grab bar behind and alongside toilet
  • Lateral transfer space at least 30" wide
  • Toilet height 17" to 19"
  • Roll under sink with knee clearance at least 27" high and 30" wide
  • Mirror 40" or less from floor or tilted
  • Towels/soap/vending within reach—48" or less from floor
  • Faucet controls automatic or lever type
  • Easy grasp/lever handle or none
  • Note: A second accessible restroom is located near the Museum Store

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