June 2017 Newsletter


Erin Directors Photo

Dear Friends,

Abraham Lincoln achieved so much in life without a formal education, and yet was a fierce advocate for it. Rather than claiming what was good enough for him was good enough for anyone, he saw universal education as both a value and an imperative for democracy. He went as far as to suggest free labor depended on it. He married a woman with exemplary education and they ensured their children were likewise well-educated — their eldest son Robert, the only one to reach adulthood, attended top schools in the East.

Here, June is filled with diverse education work and major transitions. The beginning of June was the final tidal wave of school group visits before summer break. This week, we’re welcoming one of two annual Teacher Fellows groups. We’re honored to serve these dedicated teachers whose thirst for knowledge and commitment to their students are abundantly evident. Next week, we’ll welcome youth participants for our sixth annual Students Opposing Slavery International Summit (follow along with the hashtag #SOSSummit2017). This week-long experience gives youth the knowledge, resources, and network to understand the history of human bondage and to fight slavery around the world. Our SOS program, which was awarded a Presidential Medal last fall, is free of charge, just like our DC Public and Title 1 Maryland and Virginia school programs, which have also won national recognition. We even provide for travel and, for the SOS program, lodging, so all students may participate. The need for these programs is evident, and we cannot provide them without your support.

Our team is also engaged in intense educational efforts internally. We’ve welcomed two new interns – one in programs and one in preservation – who are focused on developing their skills, knowledge, and experience. They dove right in and have been tremendous additions to our team. Lastly, this issue features the first in a pair of articles I was pleased to co-author with Rae Katherine Eighmey, inspired and derived in part from her book, Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen (Smithsonian Books, 2014). The first article looks at Mary Lincoln, devoted wife and mother, and how her skill in the kitchen and in entertaining was essential to the Lincolns’ rise up the ladder of society. Next month, we’ll look at Abraham Lincoln through six of his favorite foods.

Thank you for your support,


PRESERVATION UPDATE: Preserving the Visitor Education Center

This summer the Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center will be seeing some major changes. We sat down with Morgan Graff, the summer preservation intern, who will be extensively working with Senior Preservationist Jeff Larry to preserve and restore the 1905  Italianate Renaissance Revival style building. Read more for an in-depth summary of the preservation work on the Visitor Education Center, a glimpse of a day in the life of the preservationist (think early hours and lots of detective work), what exactly a tenon and mortise are, and misconceptions about historic preservation (no, they are not digging up dinosaur bones).

Preservation Intern Morgan poses with a refurbished window

Mary Lincoln in the Kitchen

Food was an important part of the Lincolns life. It was a key component to entertaining and dining — and even providing comfort — from Kentucky to Springfield to the White House. Over the next two months’ newsletters we’ll be exploring this topic of the gastronomical Lincolns. This month we start with Mary Lincoln in the kitchen, including anecdotes, inspiration, and instructions on how to recreate such goodies and confections, like the almond “courting” cake or Lincoln cake.

Read the full article here.


Family Day: Saturday, September 16

For the first time ever, we’re combining the Freedom 5K and Family Day for a full day of racing and fun.

Stay tuned for more details and opportunities to register!

Help Nominate Us for Unique Venue Awards

President Lincoln’s Cottage has been nominated for both Best Outdoor Event Space and Best Venue for Small Gatherings through Unique Venues. Help us claim the top spot! Vote by June 30th, and add why the Cottage is your number one pick. VOTE NOW.

Thank you for your support!

STORE UPDATE: Lincoln and Tubman Baseball Tees

Due to popular demand, the Museum Store has restocked our Hero Heads Lincoln and Harriet Tubman baseball t-shirts. Hero Heads is a local t-shirt brand with unique designs to celebrate your love for legends that inspire you. The soft blend, fitted ¾ length sleeved baseball tee sports either an image of the 16th President or Harriet Tubman, and provides extreme comfort and coziness while you show off your hero.

To purchase, visit our online store. We also have kids sizes available! To claim a kids size, or for inquiries, stop by in person (anytime from 9:30am to 4:30pm in the Visitor Education Center) or call 202-829-0436.


Welcome Programs intern Lydia Miller to our team for the summer! Lydia joins President Lincoln’s Cottage with a background in humanities and history, a love for Tad Lincoln and museums. Throughout the summer Lydia will be helping to support the Programs department — she’s excited to roll up her sleeves and dive into the Students Opposing Slavery 2017 International Summit — and getting a taste for working at a historic house museum. Read more about Lydia’s background and role here.

Do More 24: Thank You

On June 8th we celebrated Do More 24, a 24-hour online fundraiser that brought together nonprofit organizations, partners, and donors committed to creating impact in our community. Thank you for your support! Because of your donations, we raised nearly $2,500. Generous support of President Lincoln’s Cottage, whether during Do More 24 or throughout the year, goes toward preserving an authentic, tangible connection to Lincoln’s work and ideas. Click here to donate and help President Lincoln’s Cottage remain a home for brave ideas.



Associate Director for Programs Callie Hawkins (right) sits in the Drawing Room as she leads the Civil War Teacher Fellows on a tour of the Cottage.

This month President Lincoln’s Cottage helped host the Civil War Washington Teacher Fellows, an annual week-long educational fellowship for elementary, middle, and high school teachers from across the country. This past week, 24 teachers came to the nation’s capital to immerse themselves in the history of Civil War Washington. This fellowship is a partnership between President Lincoln’s Cottage, Ford’s Theatre Society, Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, and Tudor Place Historic House and Garden. The teachers spent the day at the Cottage learning about Lincoln’s Brave Ideas and how to translate those ideas into their classrooms. David, a curriculum coordinator from Moore, Oklahoma, explained:

“To be here at the Cottage, you really get a sense of Lincoln’s humanity. You get to learn that the President came out here for a place of solitude, to reflect, and to grieve over the loss of his son, and this place allowed these ideas to be nourished, to flourish, and to grow into the Emancipation Proclamation.” 

The second week of July, the partnering historic sites will host a different group of local teachers for the second session of the fellowship.

Click here to read the full reflections of some Teacher Fellows, their thoughts on why it’s important to learn about Lincoln’s Brave Ideas and how they’ll apply them to the classroom.


  • Washingtonian’s Instagram gave a special shout out to the Memorial Day tours and ceremony at the USSAH National Cemetery.
  • WMAL Radio covered the Memorial Day tour and ceremony with a feature titled, A Low-key Observance at Arlington’s Predecessor
  • The Salonniere, a leading website dedicated exclusively to the art of entertaining, named President Lincoln’s Cottage as one of Washington, DC’s Best Event Venues.
  • Smithsonian Channel will air a series titled First Ladies Revealed at 9 PM on Sundays for four weeks, beginning Sunday, July 2nd. Mary Lincoln’s story, including President Lincoln’s Cottage and Executive Director Erin Carlson Mast, is featured in episode 3, which will air July 16th.


Support our educational programs, preservation efforts and public events by making a contribution to President Lincoln’s Cottage. Donate online today.


Share this: