Welcome to the home for brave ideas. President Lincoln’s Cottage is a historic site and museum situated on a beautiful campus in Northwest Washington, D.C. Opened to the public in 2008, we bring President Lincoln’s nation-changing story to life through innovative guided tours, engaging exhibits, and interactive programs. Learn more about our history, mission, and impact.
For more than a quarter of his presidency, Abraham Lincoln lived at what we now call President Lincoln’s Cottage. Here he made some of his most critical decisions about freedom, the Union, and the presidency. Lincoln’s experiences at the Cottage provided him and those he influenced with new and diverse perspectives on issues of freedom, justice, and humility. Learn more about the site’s unique history.
The Cottage was used alternatively as an infirmary, as a dormitory for the Soldiers’ Home band, as the first dormitory for women veterans, as a bar and lounge for residents, and as public affairs offices by the Soldiers’ Home. Until mid-century, it was also a place where one could visit the grounds. Anna Harrison Chase, a formerly enslaved woman who freed herself by escaping to the District of Columbia after the DC Emancipation Act, visited the Cottage in her old age to sit in the place where Lincoln developed the Emancipation Proclamation.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation undertook an eight-year, $15 million capital project to preserve President Lincoln’s Cottage, restore the landscape, and sustainably rehabilitate (LEED Gold) a nearly 100-year old Beaux-Arts style building adjacent to the Cottage to serve as the Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center museum and event space.
We don’t just educate — we inspire. While living here, Lincoln made nation-changing decisions about the Union, freedom, and the presidency, most notably when he developed the Emancipation Proclamation. Each day, we’re reminded of President Lincoln’s legacy and the many individuals and communities who challenged him and influenced his thinking. We believe the world still needs a Home for Brave Ideas. Our commitment is to be that place.
Lincoln’s Cottage is DC’s best kept secret.
The visit to Lincoln’s Cottage changed my thinking about the way that important decisions were made by our 16th president.
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Lincoln’s Cottage on two occasions and in doing so, the man became human to me instead of a distant, unknowable icon.
Anyone interested in American history should visit this site.
The story you tell is so important.
The history learned from just one visit could make up for a whole semester of classes.
There is a sacredness to this place that transcends time, religion, and politics. It is both humble in its appointments and mighty in its history.