In addition to onsite tours and programs, President Lincoln’s Cottage provides a variety of digital resources for students and teachers who are offsite. For questions about resources or additional information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Open Field Project (Grades 3-12)
Lincoln, in explaining what he was working towards as president, said: “It is in order that each one of you may have through this free government which we have enjoyed, an open field and a fair chance for your industry, enterprise and intelligence: that you may all have equal privileges in the race of life, with all its desirable human aspirations.” Lincoln’s reflection here at President Lincoln’s Cottage as he wrestled with the challenges of his presidency – including the development of the Emancipation Proclamation – serves as inspiration for students to reflect on their own civic priorities and take action. In the Open Field Project, students bring Lincoln’s work into their classroom, plant an idea garden with the seeds of their ideas, and can tend this open field going forward as a reminder of the ongoing work necessary to make change. The program includes a live 45-minute videoconference with President Lincoln’s Cottage staff and a fully-stocked idea garden kit with soil from the Cottage’s own grounds.
Please reach out to LincolnEd@lincolncottage.org with questions about the program.
ACTIVITY LESSON PLANS
These free printable exercises can be used by families and teachers, with one student at a time or with students in larger groups.
Idea Portraits (ages 6-10)
Inspired by Lincoln’s use of the Cottage as a place to develop big ideas, students create self-portraits to document their own idea-generation process and the ideas floating around in their heads. Download here.
Family Trees (ages 5 and up)
Using an illustration of the Osage orange tree that grows adjacent to the Cottage, students create a family tree that celebrates the many people, values, and qualities that make up their family. Download here.
Tell Your Immigration Story (ages 9 and up)
Lincoln recognized as immigrants as one of America’s greatest resources, and believed in America’s founding promises offering them a chance to succeed. In this activity, students research and trace their family’s immigration journey to the United States and reflect on what it means to be American. Download here.
Debating Emancipation Online
Our award-winning program Debating Emancipation is available online. Through primary source analysis, it explores the debates Lincoln and his Cabinet members struggled with as they worked out how to implement the Emancipation Proclamation. This online version of Debating Emancipation is made possible by a grant from the Motorola Foundation. Please note this module requires Flash Player to run.
Lincoln’s Commute Online
This online module includes an animated short film and a series of primary source activities about Lincoln’s daily commute from the Cottage at the Soldier’s Home to the White House, and the people he encountered along the way. The film and online module are made possible courtesy of the White House Historical Association. Please note this module requires Flash Player to run.
Running for Re-election
This online exhibit with Google Arts & Culture explores one of the major turning points of Lincoln’s presidency: the election of 1864. Advisers told the president he would surely lose if he did not give up emancipation as part of his platform, but Lincoln held steady.
President Lincoln’s Cottage: A Retreat
Created with the National Park Service’s Teaching With Historic Places project, this online lesson covers the environment of wartime Washington, DC, what sanctuary means, and why Lincoln might have sought one out amid the pressures of his presidency.
Q & Abe
Our podcast that investigates real questions from visitors to the Cottage is available wherever you get your podcasts – listen from anywhere! Each episode, come down the rabbit hole with us as we call on a wide variety of experts to explore a single real question asked by a visitor onsite. For example, in our “How could Lincoln sleep, if slavery was happening?” episode, we spoke to a historian of dreams during the Civil War, a sleep doctor, and a licensed professional counselor in search of answers.
Lincoln Ideas Forum
This speaker series invites speakers to the Cottage to discuss the contemporary ramifications of an issue Lincoln wrestled with. It commemorates the ideas Lincoln created and the work he accomplished while living here, as well as highlighting his unfinished work. The 2019 program on Voting Rights is available on video.
Emancipation at 150
Emancipation at 150: The Impact of the Emancipation Proclamation is an anthology of the latest research on the Emancipation Proclamation from leading Lincoln scholars and government officials, jointly produced by President Lincoln’s Cottage and the United States Commission on Civil Rights.