The Preservation of the Cottage addresses conservation issues with an emphasis on interpretive objectives. This is the most significant historic site directly associated with Lincoln’s presidency, aside from the White House, and the only site in the country through which Lincoln’s presidency may be explored in the context of his terms in office.
Exterior restoration of the Cottage was completed in April 2005. The interior of the Cottage was completed prior to opening to the public in February 2008.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation is able to preserve and develop President Lincoln’s Cottage with the generous support of public and private partners. For a list of supporters and information on how you can donate to the project, please click here.
The Cottage exterior has been restored to how it looked when the Lincolns lived here during the Civil War.
The scope of the exterior restoration ensured that the building envelope would be watertight and that the materials used were durable and practical to maintain. New roofing systems replicated the slate and sheet metal roofs used in the mid-nineteenth century based on physical and photographic evidence. Stucco has been applied over the brick structure using a lime and sand mix based on surviving samples of original stucco extant on the building. Masonry and carpentry repairs have re-established all of the architectural elements that have either been damaged or lost over the years. A new electrical service has been installed, as well as a security system and exterior lighting. Paint research allowed for the replication of the color scheme during the Lincoln era, and the veranda has been reconfigured to the design depicted in historic images.
The Cottage displays various approaches to preservation and interpretive room treatment. A few rooms have been fully furnished to evoke how it appeared when the Lincoln family lived here, based on available primary resources, an understanding of the Lincolns’ taste, and the nature of seasonal homes that are minimally furnished. Other rooms have been preserved as a backdrop for understanding the complexity and significance of Lincoln and his presidency.
The Cottage itself is authentic, providing a direct connection to the past. Whenever possible, the existing historic means of managing light, heat, cold, and ventilation were used in order to enhance the authenticity of the public experience and preserve the principle artifact—the Cottage.
The environmental conditions within the wall cavities and the range of temperatures and relative humidity levels are well within acceptable limits for care of the building fabric and visitor comfort, though certain exterior conditions, including high humidity and extremely high pollen count, necessitate using HVAC even on some days with mild temperatures to ensure the safety and comfort of our visitors.