President Lincoln’s Cottage strives to make this special place as accessible as possible. If you or a member of your group have accessibility needs or concerns, please reach out to us at 202-829-0436 and we are happy to assist.

We steward two buildings on our site: the Visitor Education Center and the Cottage itself. They are across the street from each other on the campus of the Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH). See below for information about options for both buildings.

A Typical Tour Experience

Before Your Tour
  • Enter the AFRH campus through Eagle Gate, at the intersection of Rock Creek Church Rd and Upshur St. You will check in with security staff and will be asked to show an ID to enter the grounds.
  • If in a car, take the left fork of the road until you reach the first parking lot on the left, labeled Lot 2. Parking is free for visitors.
  • Then, come to the Visitor Education Center. It is the first building on the left as you enter the gate, with the green roof. It is about a block from the parking lot to the Visitor’s Center. The Visitor’s Center opens at 9:30 AM.
  • A member of your group should check in at the front desk in the museum shop.
  • If you still have time before your tour begins, you can: Use the restroom, explore the exhibits on the first floor of the Visitor’s Center, sit in the atrium, explore the grounds immediately surrounding the Visitor Center and Cottage, shop in our museum store, take a picture with the Lincoln statue.
  • Please do not explore beyond these areas or enter other buildings on campus.
  • Your tour will begin promptly at the scheduled time. Please gather in the tiled lobby of the atrium to meet your guide.
During Your Tour
  • Your guide will meet you in the atrium. You will then head around the corner to our Orientation Theater, where you will do a brief activity with the members of your group and your guide will get the conversation started.
  • You and the group will then go down the ramp and across the street to the Cottage itself. You may pause briefly outside the front of the house before going inside.
  • Inside the Cottage, during the Signature Cottage Tour, you will be guided through the rooms on the first and second floors. Other tour options may have slightly different itineraries inside the house. Please see below for information about moving between floors of the Cottage.
  • To finish your tour, your guide will lead you back to the Visitor Education Center
After Your Tour
  • Please feel free to explore the Visitor Education Center. You can: use the restroom, explore the exhibits on the first floor of the Visitor’s Center, sit in the atrium, explore the grounds immediately surrounding the Visitor Center and Cottage, shop in our museum store, take a picture with the Lincoln statue.
  • Please do not explore beyond these areas or enter other buildings on campus.
  • You can return to your vehicle in the parking lot or ask a driver to pick you up at the crosswalk. Please avoid blocking the road as much as possible.
  • Please do not approach any other buildings on campus; they belong to the Armed Forces Retirement Home and are actively in use by the residents.
  • The Visitor’s Center closes at 4:30 PM.

More information about our accessibility options for specific concerns can be found below:

  • For larger groups with multiple mobility concerns, please contact us at 202-829-0436 for options.
Visitor Education Center
  • Ramp entrance on the side (with a railing).
  • Accessible restroom stalls.
  • Some doors have raised thresholds at floor level that provide a minor obstacle.
  • Seating is available in the atrium and exhibits.
  • President Lincoln’s Cottage has one wheelchair available on a first-come first-serve basis.
The Cottage
  • From ground level, to reach the first floor of the Cottage there are 5 steps up (with a railing).
    • Some interior doors have raised thresholds at floor level.
    • To reach the second floor you will go up a flight of 12 steps, pass a landing, and then go up 5 additional steps.
  • Alternate options:
    • Back-of-house ramp entrance to the Cottage.
    • Elevator is available to reach the first floor and 2nd floor landing.
    • The elevator is low capacity and fits only 2 people per ride.
    • For larger groups please contact us at 202-829-0436 for options.
    • Elevator dimensions are 36 x 45.5 inches.
    • To reach the second floor from the landing level, there is a wheelchair lift.
      • The lift has slightly narrow spacing because of the historic layout of the house: lift dimensions are 32.5 x 51 inches, with a narrow exit at the top at 26 inches wide.
      • Some motorized scooters may need to remove footrests or other fixtures to fit out the exit of the lift onto the second floor.
      • Guests must sit in the lift. Riders cannot stand up while it is moving.
      • Seating is available in all rooms after the first 20 minutes of the tour. If you anticipate needing seating earlier in the tour, please let us know and we can accommodate you
  • An accessible restroom is located on the ground level.
  • Exhibit videos are captioned. If you would like captions for tour audio-visual media, please contact us and we can provide it on a handheld tablet.
  • Individual-assisted listening devices are available for the guided tour. For larger groups with several hard-of-hearing members, we have a wearable microphone available for guides.
  • For visitors who use American Sign Language, we have a handheld tablet that has a video of an ASL version of the main tour stories. The guide will ask and answer questions via a writing pad. The ASL version may vary slightly from the guide’s verbal storytelling.
  • For ASL interpretation of live events or programs, please contact us before the event to discuss options.
  • Printed transcripts of the Lincoln’s Wild Home audio-guided tour are available on request.
Visitor Education Center
  • Two videos in exhibits have audible informative soundtracks.
  • Some exhibit objects are touchable, please inquire for details.
  • All exhibits but one are brightly lit; the atrium in particular is full of natural light.
  • We do not at this time have Braille or large print versions of exhibit text.
The Cottage
  • The majority of the tour media is audio-only and accessible to those with vision limitations.
  • Due to our style of interpretation, the Cottage itself and many of the objects within are touchable — ask!
  • The building is brightly lit with natural light throughout.
  • Service animals are welcome. They must always be kept with you and identifiable as working. This includes a harness or lead which indicates their status and a high standard of behavior in keeping with the animal’s task and training. If your service animal is not a dog, please contact us at 202-829-0436 for more information. Service animals, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, are animals trained to do work or perform specific tasks for a guest with a disability.
  • Our quietest times are typically Monday and Tuesday afternoons.
  • The Lincolns came to the Cottage looking for peace and respite from downtown DC. You can still find that here.
  • If you would like to arrange a tour where members of your party are the only guests, please reach out about our Premium Tour option by calling 202-688-3733.
  • The Visitor Education Center is climate-controlled and generally comfortable. The Cottage has limited climate control and may be warm in the summer month
  • Gender-inclusive restrooms are located in the Cottage. The Visitor Education Center has men’s and women’s restrooms. Visitors are welcome to use the restroom that best aligns with their gender identity.
  • Strollers are allowed inside the Visitor Education Center but not in the Cottage itself. Please be prepared to park your stroller out front when visiting.
  • We do not have tours in spoken languages other than English.
  • President Lincoln’s Cottage is an independent 501c3 nonprofit, and the only National Monument in the country that does not receive federal operating funds. Purchasing a tour ticket helps us continue to preserve this place. If pricing is an obstacle, please reach out to us at 202-829-0436 and we can tell you about any upcoming free public programs. The Cottage tour requires a paid ticket and is the only way to visit the inside of the house.