President Lincoln’s Cottage is an historic site and museum located in the Petworth neighborhood of northwest Washington, D.C. President Lincoln’s Cottage first opened to the public in February 2008, after an eight-year capital restoration project under the auspices of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It is the only place the public can experience the history of Abraham Lincoln’s public and private life where he lived and worked for over a quarter of his presidency. While in residence at the Cottage, Lincoln visited with wounded soldiers, spent time with self-emancipated men, women and children, and developed the Emancipation Proclamation. The human cost of the Civil War surrounded him, undoubtedly impacted his thinking, and strengthened his resolve to challenge the status quo. Through innovative guided tours, exhibits and programs, we use Lincoln’s example to inspire visitors to take their own path to greatness, and preserve this place as an authentic, tangible connection to the past and a beacon of hope for all who take up Lincoln’s unfinished work.
Reveal the true Lincoln and continue the fight for freedom
Plant the seeds of Lincoln’s brave ideas around the world so that all people, everywhere, can be free
President Lincoln’s Cottage at the Soldiers’ Home is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) public charity. President Lincoln’s Cottage is also a National Monument, a National Historic Landmark, and a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In fact, President Lincoln’s Cottage is the only National Monument in the country that does not receive federal operating support. The public could not experience this historical treasure without your ongoing support. Show your support and donate today.
President Lincoln’s Cottage Designations
President Lincoln’s Cottage and the adjacent Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center opened to the public for the first time in 2008, giving Americans an intimate, never-before-seen view of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency and family life. The grand opening was made possible following a $15-million restoration and rehabilitation of both buildings and the surrounding landscape by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a private, non-profit organization. President Lincoln’s Cottage is a National Monument, National Historic Landmark, and site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, but receives no federal operating support.
Today, the site is governed and operated by President Lincoln’s Cottage at the Soldiers’ Home, a 501(c)(3) public charity. President Lincoln’s Cottage retains its designations as a National Monument, National Historic Landmark, and site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, but receives no federal operating support.
National Historic Landmark Designation
The historic significance of the Soldiers’ Home was first officially recognized in 1974, when the Cottage and three other buildings built before the Civil War, along with six surrounding acres of land, were designated a National Historic Landmark by the Secretary of the Interior. This designation celebrated the role of the Soldiers’ Home in the development of American military asylums and recognized the site as the last remaining example of three original military asylums established in 1851. The designation specifically highlights the Cottage as a presidential residence, and notes the importance of Lincoln’s time there and his development of the Emancipation Proclamation . President Lincoln’s Cottage is the only structure in the National Historic Landmark that is currently open to the public; the other buildings continue to be used to support the operations at the Armed Forces Retirement Home.
National Monument Designation
On July 7, 2000, President William J. Clinton declared the Cottage and 2.3 acres of surrounding land the President Lincoln and Soldiers’ Home National Monument in honor of the site’s notable role in the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. Despite the designation as a National Monument, the National Park Service plays no role in the stewardship or support of the site. President Lincoln’s Cottage at the Soldiers’ Home, by agreement with the Armed Forces Retirement Home and National Trust for Historic Preservation, is responsible for the operation and governance of the site and is an independent 501(c)(3).
Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center LEED Gold Designation
The Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center, adjacent to President Lincoln’s Cottage, was sustainably rehabilitated to serve as a welcome center for visitors with exhibit, classroom, and museum store space, as well as administrative space for staff. As a result of these efforts, the building was awarded LEED Gold certification in 2009. The Beaux Arts building was originally constructed in 1905 to serve as administrative offices for the Home and is listed as a contributing historic feature in the AFRH National Historic District.