Celebrating Lincoln’s bicentennial at Lincoln’s Cottage

President Lincoln’s Cottage, a focal point of the 2009 Lincoln bicentennial, offers visitors compelling and tangible links to the 16th president with unique and extraordinary insights into his public and private life.

President Lincoln’s Cottage at the Soldiers’ Home, a National Trust Historic Site, opened to the public in 2008, following a 7-year, $17 million restoration campaign spearheaded by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Cottage, available for private tours, meetings and events, is immensely popular with group tours and individual visitors according to visitor surveys. The New York Times said of the cottage: “Its power is the power of association, its contact with a historical presence; we literally walk in a great figure’s footsteps.”

President Lincoln’s Cottage, located in Washington, D.C., is the most significant site after the White House associated with Abraham Lincoln’s presidency. President Lincoln spent one quarter of his presidency here and was living here when he drafted the Emancipation Proclamation and deliberated issues of the Civil War, and it’s where he found refuge with his family. Lincoln commuted three miles daily by horseback or coach to the White House, last visiting the Cottage the day before his assassination.

 Intimate, guided tours limited to 20 people provide an in-depth, media-enhanced experience that enables Lincoln’s ideas and actions to be conveyed through historical images and voices. State-of-the-art technology, built into the Cottage during its restoration, allows the content of the tour to be updated as new research emerges. The Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center, adjacent to the cottage, houses thematic galleries and changing exhibitions providing visitors of all ages opportunities for in-depth exploration of Lincoln’s life and times.

“President Lincoln’s Cottage offers visitors exciting and compelling opportunities to discover Lincoln – the man and the historic figure,” said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “It’s remarkable to experience the place where President Lincoln wrestled with and made decisions about issues that affect our lives to this day.”

On Feb. 12, 2009, a new life size statue of Lincoln and his horse, recently installed in front of the cottage, will be formally dedicated. On the same day, the exhibition “My Abraham Lincoln” opens showcasing privately held collections related to Lincoln, while exploring collectors’ interests, the history of collecting Lincolniana, and the enduring demand for Lincoln-related artifacts. Highlights include a 1920s set of Lincoln Logs and the complete run of Punch magazine from the Civil War, featuring dozens of political cartoons about Lincoln, the original wine list from Lincoln’s second inaugural ball, and an original Lincoln legal pleading. The exhibition runs through Dec. 31, 2009.

In addition to guided tours, for school groups and educators, the Cottage offers programs including Lincoln’s Hat, a social studies and language arts program based on Lincoln’s unique writing habits designed for grades 3 to 5, and Debating Emancipation, designed for grades 5 and up.
For information about visiting President Lincoln’s Cottage, go to www.lincolncottage.org. For information about using the Cottage for meetings and events, go to www.lincolncottage.org/events.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a non-profit membership organization bringing people together to protect, enhance and enjoy the places that matter to them. By saving the places where great moments from history – and the important moments of everyday life – took place, the National Trust for Historic Preservation helps revitalize neighborhoods and communities, spark economic development and promote environmental sustainability. With headquarters in Washington, D.C., nine regional and field offices, 29 historic sites, and partner organizations in all 50 states, the National Trust for Historic Preservation provides leadership, education, advocacy and resources to a national network of people, organizations and local communities committed to saving places, connecting us to our history and collectively shaping the future of America’s stories.

For more information, visit www.PreservationNation.org.

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