New Lincoln-Tallman House tours announced

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Shelly Birkelo
Wednesday, February 19, 2014

JANESVILLE—Visitors to the historic Lincoln-Tallman House this summer won't get the same old tour.

Instead, guides will tell them a story, said Mike Reuter, Rock County Historical Society executive director.

“The tour will be structured very differently from the past. The interpretation will be first-person,” he said.

The new 2014 Tallman Technologies tour is expected to open as early as mid-July.

"No official launch date has been set, yet," Reuter said.

"It's a production where the tour guide will portray a fictional person dressed in mid-19th century attire and take visitors through a story instead of a guided, point-at-artifacts walk through," he said.

The structure of the tour will include three acts:

-- Act I is a video to set the stage for the tour.

-- Act II is the tour.

-- Act III is the post tour when people can get more in-depth information, Reuter said.

The 2015 tour will have an upstairs-downstairs theme examining the daily life of the Tallman family versus that of their servants.

The 2016 tour will center on Abraham Lincoln's visit to Rock County and events of that period, such as abolition and the political scene.

The thematic tours will be more educational and immersive and include complimentary education components, Reuter said.

“We'll create a strong menu of tours moving forward, which was born out of the Tallman business plan in 2010 when the city approached us and said we need to increase campus attendance and revenue,” he said.

The Tallman family donated the Lincoln-Tallman House to the city in 1950 on the condition it be operated as a public museum, which the historical society does.

Traditional tours that give a basic overview of the house will continue, for those who prefer this option, but the historical society will do away with walk-in tours, Reuter said.

Also new this year, he said, tours can be scheduled on the historical society's website when the new thematic tours kick off.

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