As we prepare to close the chapter on 2020, we reflect on lessons learned and look forward with renewed hope to 2021. President Lincoln used this Cottage as a place of reflection and renewal throughout his presidency, surrounded by a nation and a people in crisis. From the Cottage veranda, Lincoln could see the unfinished Capitol dome, a symbol of our in-progress democracy.
In many ways, 2020 has themes that would be familiar to Lincoln: a fractured body politic, injustices, an election during a national crisis, and significant loss of life. Lincoln’s time at the Cottage brought him closer to the cost of war with its proximity to the U.S. Soldiers’ Home National Cemetery, the predecessor and contemporary of Arlington National Cemetery. Over a thousand soldiers were buried in plain view of the Cottage the first summer the Lincolns lived here. Burials in the cemetery grew to approximately 8,000 by the end of the war. Several military hospitals and refugee camps lined the president’s daily commute. At the same time, he drafted and issued the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, an act that struck another blow at injustice, paving the way for the 13th Amendment. He undoubtedly drew from his experiences walking through the cemetery here when drafting and delivering the Gettsyburg Address, a speech that eloquently acknowledges tremendous suffering and profound hope for the future. President Lincoln’s Cottage is a symbol of both great struggles and great hope.
In the spirit of hope, we look forward to 2021 and with it new opportunities to share Lincoln’s story and inspire individuals to heal our democracy and strive for collective freedom and justice.
If you haven’t already made a year-end gift to the Cottage, I hope you do so today. Thanks to your support, we can continue to safely provide resources and programs to visitors of all ages come what may. We have not missed a beat. Since March, we have been providing unique online and digital experiences, onsite programs with health and safety front and center, and educational kits to serve visitors in new ways that meet their needs. By doing so, we are able to deepen understanding about the past and inspire civic action today. Your commitment to President Lincoln’s Cottage makes all of this and more possible.
This Saturday, President Lincoln’s Cottage will open Reflections on Grief and Child Loss at the Robert E. Smith Visitor Education Center. This exhibit will bridge the Lincolns’ grief after the death of their children with modern families who have lost children inexplicably or from illness, disease, physical and gun violence. The exhibit will remain open for at least two years and can be seen with the purchase of a self-guided tour ticket.
Learn more here.
Our brand new online store is selling all sorts of wonderful holiday items, including your very own Social Studies in a Box. Each of our five boxes (three of which are pictured above) provide at-home programming that encourages the development of social and emotional intelligence through games, interactive play, and stories. Create quality time with your children (designed for ages 2-8) without the prep work.
The discount applies to the following items:
Support our educational programs, preservation efforts and public events by making a contribution to President Lincoln’s Cottage. Donate online today.