This will be my last monthly letter as CEO of President Lincoln’s Cottage. After 17 years with this remarkable site and 10 years of leading this organization, I am departing to serve as the new President & CEO of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation in Illinois.
It has been an honor and a privilege to build President Lincoln’s Cottage with this team and this Board. I have had the pleasure of being part of the Cottage effort through its capital restoration, grand opening, the Civil War Sesquicentennial years, our transition to an independent 501c3 and through the last few years of creating and realizing our bold new mission. Never in a million years did I think, when I first started, that I would stay with the Cottage for so long, nor wear so many different hats along the way. It was a series of once-in-a-lifetime experiences I will always cherish.
We have accomplished so much. We have provided hundreds of thousands of people with a transformative experience during a tumultuous period in our nation’s history. We have won dozens of awards recognizing excellence. I leave knowing we are a strong, purpose-driven organization through and through, with great relationships with our community and partners. The National Monument is well positioned to achieve great success in the future.
Today I walked through the Cottage, by myself, for the last time. Yet, in so many ways, each of you was there with me. The Cottage is a vessel for many layers of history, including yours. Maybe you visited with family and friends, or had a retreat here with colleagues. Perhaps you were our featured speaker in a program, or a partner who helped us dream up something new and make it a reality. You may have brought your students here to have an unforgettable experience. Some of you took your vows here. Some of you took the oath of citizenship here. Some of you made history here. Many of you have supported us, generously, countless times along the way. Your memories and experiences are part of the fabric of this historic site forever. Thank you for sharing our conviction that the Cottage is worth it, that it is essential to our world today.
I have said this to some of you already, but it bears repeating and saying to you all. This historic campus will always be special to me, because of the people who made it special—including each of you.
With my deepest gratitude,
Postscript: My letter was written prior to the detestable events of yesterday afternoon and evening, so I am compelled to add to my farewell letter to all of you. Lincoln was invoked many times on the floors of Congress yesterday. As he himself knew, education and historical knowledge are essential to a healthy democracy. Misinformation and violence are the downfall of a democracy. Never doubt that the pursuit of historical truth and understanding is essential to our freedom
Read the full departure notice.
All this week, we are highlighting memorable moments from each of our departing CEO & Executive Director’s 11 years at President Lincoln’s Cottage on social media. Here are a few!
2010: A highlight of Erin’s first year as Executive Director was hosting the launch of the latest Abraham Lincoln Presidential $1 Coin (see picture) at President Lincoln’s Cottage with U.S. Mint Director Ed Moy.
2011: A 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit DC on Aug 23, 2011. All four buildings in the National Historic Landmark, including President Lincoln’s Cottage suffered damage, with the historic Sherman Building enduring the worst damage that would take years to repair.
2012: Ambassador Luis CdeBaca was the keynote speaker for the grand opening of our exhibit, “Can You Walk Away,” about slavery in the U.S. 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation. He spoke of “Building Lincoln’s Cottage” around the world so that all people, everywhere, can be free.
2013: In 2013, we hosted our first ever Students Opposing Slavery International Summit, welcoming 21 students from 6 countries to the Cottage for a weeklong experience.
Find your very own Social Studies in a Box at our new online store. 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.
Support our educational programs, preservation efforts and public events by making a contribution to President Lincoln’s Cottage. Donate online today.