August 2017 Newsletter
Thank you for believing in the value and importance of President Lincoln’s Cottage and what its history, restoration, and use mean to people. It may have taken nearly 150 years after the Civil War for the Cottage to be saved and opened to the public, but it’s here now, sharing a forgotten chapter of our nation’s story. These past two weeks, visitors have shared with various members of our team that coming to President Lincoln’s Cottage was exactly what they needed in the wake of the events in Charlottesville.
Almost exactly two years ago, our newsletter addressed the horrific massacre in Charleston, SC, when a self-proclaimed white supremacist murdered people inside their own church, because they were black. Images of this killer proudly displaying the Confederate Flag prompted a fresh round of debates over the use and meaning of Confederate symbols at different institutions throughout the country.
The wounds of the past have not had an opportunity to heal. In order to “bind up the nation’s wounds,” we need to treat those wounds with sustained care and proper attention. At President Lincoln’s Cottage, that care starts with doing our best to analyze and provide the latest scholarship, and respectfully setting the record straight when necessary, drawing on primary sources and abundant context. We do this every single day on our tours to people of all walks of life, monthly in our programs and publications, and annually as with our Lincoln Ideas Forum, which this past April featured speakers on immigration, hate groups, and other timely topics with ties to the Lincoln-era. We also produce programs and publications in response to concerns raised by colleagues at other organizations, such as a two-part article on interpreting slavery to children, something we have years of experience and success doing. We’ve linked the resources in this letter, for your convenience.
It’s difficult to heal as a nation when so much misinformation and conflicting information exists. We draw visitors from all over the country and around the world, of all ages and backgrounds. It’s not uncommon for us to encounter those who believe slavery played no role in secession (or only a very minor one), or believe the Emancipation Proclamation solved everything or, conversely, did absolutely nothing, or believe the 13th, 14th, and/or 15th amendments righted all the wrongs endured by millions of people who had been enslaved—legally and illegally—in this country. It’s no wonder some express surprise that openly bigoted acts of violence could occur in this day and age, while many express great frustration at that sense of surprise, given the long, ugly history of racially-driven violence and oppression in this country as a whole, heavily documented and available for any with the time and inclination to look.
September is a month of great historical meaning here — Lincoln issued the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862 while living on these grounds — and a month full of programs and collaborations with teachers and schools right here and around the country. We have had to skip a few of our usual newsletter features this month in order to get this out sooner than originally scheduled, a decision we felt was necessary. We hope to return those to the newsletter next month.
Thank you for your thoughtfulness and your support,
“ONE WAR AT A TIME”: Abraham Lincoln’s American Foreign Policy
In 1861, Abraham Lincoln instructed Thomas Corwin, U.S. Minister to Mexico, to do all that he could to combat the Confederate influence in Mexico. Despite being consumed by his own war, Lincoln realized that the American relationship with Latin America must be repaired and improved.
PRESERVATION UPDATE: A Surprise Discovery in a Window Sill
A rainstorm and leak in the Cottage roof in late July led to the discovery of mysterious artifacts, including bits of newspaper, cloth fragments, five shaving blades, eight wooden match sticks, broken mirror glass and ceramic bowl pieces and one pipe stem. In addition, two items were found beneath a window stool while preparing for some exterior sill repairs: the first, a tightly folded note, the second, a set of buttons. Read more about the surprise discovery, and what the items mean here.
WHEN: Saturday, September 16
For the first time ever, we’re combining our two popular events, the Freedom 5K and Family Day, into one full day of racing and family fun: Homecoming. During the Civil War the Lincoln family called the Cottage home. This year we welcome everyone back “home” to join us for a full day of activities where you can run, walk, and play like Lincoln.
FREEDOM 5K at HOMECOMING
Attention runners, joggers, and walkers! Registration is still open for our fourth annual Freedom 5K on September 16. The race starts at 9 AM, and kicks off our entire day of family fun, Homecoming. Lighthouse yoga is again providing a pre-race stretch, starting at 8:15 AM.
Traverse a pastoral landscape that winds past ponds, fields, historic buildings, and vistas on this breath-taking course. The run culminates on the foot of the lawn at President Lincoln’s Cottage, where a ceremony will take place. The annual Freedom 5K is an exclusive opportunity for members of the public to race through the 250-acre grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home – home to hundreds of veterans– in Northwest Washington, DC. Proceeds and donations from the run support the mission of President Lincoln’s Cottage, a private non-=profit organization. Prizes for the top three men and women include memberships, tour vouchers, and even free tickets to our most popular — and always sold-out — Bourbon & Bluegrass event.
Click here for more information on the race.
WHEN: Saturday, September 16
TIME: 9 AM
COST: $35 until online registration closes on September 14 at 8:00 pm, then will be $40 through race day. REGISTER TODAY.
CITIZENSHIP AND THE CIVIL WAR EDIT-A-THON
Learn to edit and contribute to Wikipedia in a room where President Abraham Lincoln did some of his best thinking. Join us for an Edit-a-thon on the anniversary of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. With the help of experienced Wikipedians, attendees will learn to edit and contribute to Wikipedia articles. During this event, we will focus on improving articles that fall within the theme of Citizenship during the Civil War. The theme for this event is inspired by the Cottage’s current exhibition, American by Belief.
As one of the web’s most visited reference sites, Wikipedia serves as a starting point for many individuals looking to learn about the history of citizenship, and the Civil War in general. Wikipedia is an openly editable resource, meaning that individuals can improve the quality and accuracy of Wikipedia entries.
This event is FREE and open to the public. All you need to bring is your editing skills and a laptop. Click here to register.
WHEN: Friday, September 22
TIME: 4 PM – 6 PM
TWO FACES COMEDY NIGHT
Back by popular demand, and drawing inspiration from Abraham Lincoln’s legendary humor and self-deprecation, President Lincoln’s Cottage and The DC Improv are again partnering to present Two Faces Comedy, the first comedy series to transform Lincoln’s living room into a comedy den. This will be a series of three comedy nights, the first of which is September 27. Stay tuned for future dates. All shows begin at 7:30 PM.
WHEN: Wednesday, September 27 (October and November dates coming soon)
TIME: 7:30 PM – 10 PM
COTTAGE CONVERSATION: Stark Mad Abolitionists
Join us as author and former Chief Historian of the Park Service Robert Sutton discusses his book, Stark Mad Abolitionists: Lawrence, Kansas, and the Battle over Slavery in the Civil War Era.
WHEN: Thursday, September 28
Reception- 6 PM, Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center
Lecture- 6:30 PM, President Lincoln’s Cottage
COST: $10 for the lecture and $10 for the reception (free for members at $250 and above)
STORE UPDATE: Christmas in…August?
Our annual President Lincoln’s Cottage’s holiday ornaments are back! This year we’re featuring two: the Cottage Vestibule, and the Emancipation Desk. Stay tuned for a separate email with purchasing details.
To purchase or for inquiries, stop by in person (anytime from 9:30am to 4:30pm in the Visitor Education Center) or call 202-829-0436 ext 0.
Interested in joining Team Lincoln? Don’t forget any member $50 and above receives 50% off admission for two at President Lincoln’s Cottage and a 10% discount on items purchased in the Museum Store.
Any member $250 and above receives 50% off admission for two at President Lincoln’s Cottage, a 10% discount on items purchased in the Museum Store, early-bird access to programs and events (such as Bourbon & Bluegrass) and free admittance to all Cottage Conversations for one year.
NEWS and AWARDS
- WAMU featured the Cottage in their “AC/DC: How Washingtonians Beat the Heat Before Air Conditioners”
- EWTN featured the Cottage in a TV piece about Presidential retreats
- A June 2017 wedding was featured on wedding blog, Borrowed & Blue
- C-SPAN aired the May Cottage Conversation about Montgomery C. Meigs, and the book The Quartermaster
Support our educational programs, preservation efforts and public events by making a contribution to President Lincoln’s Cottage. Donate online today.