November 2023 Newsletter

Happy Thanksgiving from our Team


We are especially grateful that you read this newsletter and wish you a peaceful Thanksgiving!

Photos by Natasha Lamalle.

A Visionary Art Installation on Justice is Coming to the Cottage

From January 5 through February 19, President Lincoln’s Cottage will partner with Justice Arts Coalition on an exhibit titled Prison Reimagined: Presidential Portraits Project. The art that will line the walls of the Cottage has been created entirely by artists living within the US carceral system.

Presidential portraits will be paired with narratives of that president’s record on incarceration, as well as personal writings on life behind bars and poetic visions of what true justice could look like.

This project is the creation of journalist Caddell Kivett, one of the editors of Nash News, who is currently incarcerated at the Nash Correctional Institution in North Carolina.

Getting to Know Kyesse Bidzimou

A (belated) warm Cottage welcome to our Events Manager, Kyesse Bidzimou!  Since she joined in August, Kyesse has been working tirelessly to ensure our site rental clients have the best possible experience.  Our Marketing & Communications Manager, Rebecca, sat down with Kyesse to discuss oil painting, airplane-making, Congolese food, and more!

Rebecca Kilborne: Kyesse, we are thrilled to have you on our team!  What drew you to President Lincoln’s Cottage?

Kyesse Bidzimou: I absolutely loved how the staff are always so excited to talk about President Lincoln.

RK: I agree!  It’s very unique!  Where are you from, and where did you grow up?

KB: I was born in Congo Brazzaville but grew up in Silver Spring.  I moved to this area when I was eight.

RK: Ah, so you remember Congolese life.  What is a favorite memory? 

KB: Every summer I would go to my dad’s city of Pointe-Noire to see his side of the family and spend a lot of time at the beach.  We would find scrap metal from the airport and build our own airplanes.  We would invite neighborhood kids to come over and board the plane.

RK: That is extremely cool!  It makes sense that you work as an event planner today.  You obviously like to show people a good time.  What do you like to do for fun these days? 

KB: Some of my favorite pastimes are exploring nature through hiking, traveling, painting and occasionally indulging in a good Netflix binge.

RK: What kind of painting do you do? 

KB: Oil painting.  I draw a lot of flowers and designs and the skies.  It’s more therapeutic than anything!  It’s a great way to relax myself.

RK: Lincoln wasn’t one of our painting presidents, but we all know he loved to read. What is one book that you love?

KB: The Fault In Our Stars because it was the first book I had bought with my own money in High School.

RK: What has been your favorite thing about working at the Cottage so far?

KB: I absolutely love the cozy and welcoming atmosphere at the Cottage.  It feels like a home away from home.  I love the teamwork and friendship among the staff.  Everyone is always willing to lend a helping hand and support each other, which makes work enjoyable.

The most joyful aspect of working at the Cottage is interacting with our lovely customers.  I enjoy making their experience memorable and seeing their happy faces when they leave.

RK: Let’s talk weddings specifically since Abe and Mary got married in November, and we are honoring their anniversary this month with a special deal for today’s lovebirds.  What makes Lincoln’s Cottage weddings extra special?

KB: Lincoln’s Cottage provides a unique and historically significant venue to celebrate a couples’ special day.  With its beautiful surroundings, attention to detail, and commitment to honoring Abe and Mary’s legacy, Lincoln’s Cottage offers a truly exceptional and unforgettable wedding anniversary experience.

RK: Thanksgiving is coming up. What do you like to do for Thanksgiving? 

KB: For Thanksgiving, I like to be in the kitchen with my mom making all our traditional Congolese food, spending time with family, and recapping what we are grateful for this year.

RK:  What are some of your favorite traditional Congolese recipes? 

KB: Peanut soup and Saka Saka.  You can link to the recipes!  With Saka-Saka, I normally put smoked fish and vegetables.

RK: What is a Thanksgiving memory you treasure?

KB: One that comes immediately to mind is when my family and I took a road trip to Atlanta and toured all the MLK historical sites.

RK: Any special holiday trips this year? 

KB: Not for Thanksgiving, but I’ll be visiting Paris at the end of the year!  I have a lot of family, and I have never been.  I want to go at least once in my lifetime.

RK: That sounds incredible!  I can’t wait to hear about your trip.  Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me, and for all the positivity you bring to the Cottage! 

Happy Anniversary Abe and Mary

Abraham and Mary Lincoln were (hastily) married on November 4, 1842, and we’re honoring their anniversary with a special gift to today’s lovebirds!

Book a 2024 Cottage wedding between now and December 31, 2023, and receive $500 off.

Just reference the “Abe and Mary anniversary discount” when you email [email protected]. Read about our wedding packages here.

Please share the news with any betrothed couples in your circle!

President Lincoln’s Cottage in the News

  • PBS News Hour included an interview between Judy Woodruff and Heather Cox Richardson filmed at the Cottage.
  • The Washington Post listed our Two Faces Comedy night as a best thing to do.
  • Washingtonian included Cottage CEO Callie Hawkins in their October Guest List and also shared our comedy night as a thing to do.
  • Check Your Facts cited our blog post on Lincoln at Fort Stevens as they disputed the recent press claim that Biden was the first president to visit an active warzone.
  • Smithsonian wrote about how the exhibit originally created for Lincoln’s Cottage, Create to Free Yourselves, is opening at the Smithsonian Museum of African Art.
  • Politico shared news of a recent Cottage wedding.
  • KidFriendlyDC shared our final movie night first on their weekend round-up


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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