March 2018 Newsletter


Erin Directors Photo

Dear Friends,

The “Lincoln shiver” is the term we used to describe a certain feeling people said they experienced at President Lincoln’s Cottage, even during the capital project when it felt more construction site than historic site. The shiver came at different times for different people, and came when story and place collided. For example, some experienced it when they heard the stories of what Lincoln was struggling with here and then ascended the same stairs and touched the same banister Lincoln touched — thinking of what was on his mind as he went to bed each night. Still others felt the shiver after the fact — as they went over their memories of what they heard and experienced here.

The museum field does a good job of tracking basic results, such as the number of visitors served per year or the number of repeat visitors. We certainly care about and track that information, but we have always cared more about the quality of the experience we provide. After all, repetition does not necessarily point to the depth of impact museums have on an individual. A few years ago, it became clear that our surveys were not capturing the depth of impact that, anecdotally, we seemed to be having. For example, visitors have reported feeling their minds opened, to being “substantively changed,” and to finding that they were reflecting on their experience at President Lincoln’s Cottage weeks, months, and even years later, even if they had been here just one time. Those are not easy things to measure. And so, we embarked on a groundbreaking study, the first phase of what we hope will be a multi-phase neuroscientific study. The first phase took over 18 months to complete, and we are pleased to share it with all of you now. You can read the full report of the study here.

We could not have accomplished this without the expertise of Dr. Julio Bermudez, Professor of Architecture and Director of the Cultural Studies and Sacred Space graduate program at Catholic University and executive advisor to the Johns Hopkins University International Arts + Mind Lab at the JHU Brain Science Institute. A seed grant from the National Trust helped kick-start the effort. We are actively seeking funding for the next phase of this study, which has implications for President Lincoln’s Cottage, the fields of museums and preservation, and beyond.

Thank you for your support,


“Overlooked:” Forgotten Obituaries of Women during the Civil War

On March 8th, 2018, for International Women’s Day The New York Times launched “Overlooked,” a series of obituaries of notable women in history who never received their due. They noted that “since 1851, obituaries in The New York Times had been dominated by white men. Now, we’re adding the stories of remarkable women.”

In the spirit of the The New York Times’ reckoning, our article this month focuses on three incredibly smart, brave, and influential women during the Civil War who, in our opinion, never received their due either. Read on for our obituaries of these women, a special tribute to their influences and accomplishes that changed the course of history.


This year marks ten years of President Lincoln’s Cottage being open to the public — celebrate with us!

To celebrate 10 years, we’ll be offering tickets at select dates for only $10.

Join us Sunday, March 25th for another $10 admission day. In honor of National Reading Month, anyone who brings in a library card will receive the discounted price. Meanwhile kids and Cottage members get in for the price of a Lincoln (that’s $5, not $.01).

While we’re adding more tours, we still highly encourage you reserve your tickets ahead of time. RESERVE TICKETS NOW

Mark your calendar for April’s $10 admission day:  Monday, April 16th– Happy D.C. Emancipation Day! Any D.C. resident will be eligible for the discount, with proof of ID or residency. Also starting in April, we’ll display a sherry glass President Lincoln purportedly used during his last visit to the Soldiers’ Home in 1865.

Fourth Annual Lincoln Ideas Forum: “We Cannot Escape History”

Towards the end of his Second Annual Message to Congress in 1862, Abraham Lincoln implored his countrymen to remember that future generations would be looking back at the Civil War era: “Fellow-citizens, we can not escape history,” he wrote. “We of this Congress and this Administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves.” This year, those stirring words serve as our theme for our fourth annual Lincoln Ideas Forum. Join us as we bring together experts, scholars, and the public in an exploration of the historic contexts of emancipation, sexual assault, hate groups, and immigration alongside the modern consequences.

When: Friday, April 13

Time: 10am – 12pm

While this program is FREE and open to the public, we do ask you reserve a spot. Reserve your tickets here. For more information on the program and the speakers, click here.

Bourbon & Bluegrass 2018

On both Saturday May 19 and Sunday May 20, lounge on Lincoln’s front lawn, sip bourbon and enjoy live bluegrass music for our fourth annual Bourbon and Bluegrass event! All proceeds from the event go towards preservation efforts at President Lincoln’s Cottage. Help us keep this historic gem open and available to share Lincoln’s untold stories.

Tickets are on sale now 

Not only are we doubling the days and doubling the bands, but we’re offering two-day and VIP ticket options. Guarantee yourself a (shaded) spot with all of your friends to picnic, lounge, and get a front row space. Not to mention free parking, drink tickets, mint julep cups, PLC bourbon, & more! There are only three left. Claim one now!

PRESERVATION UPDATE: Seeking a Preservation Intern for Summer 2018

The summer intern will work under Senior Preservationist, Jeff Larry.

President Lincoln’s Cottage seeks a summer intern to perform hands-on preservation and restoration work on the exterior windows, doors and trim of its Visitor Education Center, an Italian Renaissance Revival style building constructed in 1905. Other duties, as assigned, will include documentation, painting and Cottage preservation work on sash (glazing), doors (mortise & tenon repair), shutters (rail & stile Dutchman and epoxy repair) and sills (different techniques in managing checks and rot). In addition to obtaining hands-on experience the intern will gain an understanding of the day-to-day operations and preservation management at an historic site.

This position is for summer 2018 and is paid. For more details, and how to apply, click here.

Applications are due by Monday, March 26.

STAFF SPOTLIGHT: Staff Book Recommendations

March is National Reading Month and to celebrate we’re reinstating our staff book selections. When you go to the Museum Store, keep an eye out for hand-written recommendations on the book shelf from our knowledgeable staff. Trust us, we know Lincoln (and the Civil War, and slavery, and history, and well, you get the point). Click here for our staff picks.




Since March is both National Women’s History Month and National Reading Month, what better a person to highlight than former Board member, long-time supporter, and friend of President Lincoln’s Cottage, Candice Shy Hooper? After a career in law, Candice turned to writing history, including the book Lincoln’s Generals’ Wives: Four Women Who Influenced the Civil War – For Better and For Worse (read a review here)To learn about how she first became involved in the Cottage, her favorite Lincoln story, and the subject of her next book, click here.

Have You Considered Planned Giving?

You can help ensure this powerful place is here for generations to come by leaving a gift to President Lincoln’s Cottage in your will. For more information about using your will to protect President Lincoln’s Cottage and the big ideas of freedom and equality that live here, please contact Nora Cobo, Associate Director for Development, by calling 202-688-3734 or emailing


As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity and the only National Monument in the country that does not receive federal operating funds, President Lincoln’s Cottage relies on donations and bequests to make this authentic space available to the public 362 years and to continue the unfinished fight for freedom.


Like many presidents, Lincoln was a voracious reader. To celebrate National Reading Month, we rolled out our top 5 book picks: whether you’re a Civil War novice or a seasoned history buff, each of these books adds a different perspective and voice to the complexity and nuance of America’s Civil War. For all of March we’re offering 10% off the books on our book list, both online and in the Museum Store. Stop by or click here for staff reviews and more details.

Calling All Educators: Apply for our Civil War Fellowship Program

Join President Lincoln’s Cottage and our partners for a week of place-based learning focused on Lincoln and the Civil War. Explore the nation’s capital as President Lincoln would have known it during the Civil War, in this week-long summer teacher program for 3rd- through 12th-grade teachers.

During The Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation Civil War Washington program, you will join up to 25 teachers to learn about Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and the city of Washington during the Civil War!

Apply here.

Applications are due April 2, 2018.




Calling All Youth Abolitionists: Apply for our Students Opposing Slavery International Summit

Join the movement. As seen in Teen Vogue and on CNN’s Freedom Project, the 2018 Students Opposing Slavery Summit will take place June 25-29, at President Lincoln’s Cottage in Washington, DC.

Participants spend a week gathering tools and resources to continue Abraham Lincoln’s fight for freedom in their own community and creating a global network of youth abolitionists.

Applications are open and due by Monday April 9, 2018Click here to apply.

Please send inquiries to

Cottage Madness: Who Was Lincoln’s Best Cabinet Member?

Last year we unveiled #CottageMadness, where we pitted 16 people against each other to determine who had the Best Civil War Name. (Congrats again to Pleasant Unthank.) As the 2018 NCAA basketball tournament kicked off, we did it again, but narrowing our focus. This year, we asked the social media world to vote and decide who the “Best” member of Lincoln’s cabinet was! The final two were selected after a series of grueling head-to-head battles (Literally. See above).

The championship round was a nail-biter, but eventually one cabinet member proved victorious. Who is it? Lincoln’s top diplomat, or his right-hand man who oversaw the Union’s war effort? (For the record, the selection committee is glad they didn’t mess up the top two seeds). We know you’re on pins and needles: click here to reveal who gets all the glory.



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


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