Exhibits at President Lincoln’s Cottage

Explore the history of President Lincoln’s Cottage and reflect on the impact of brave ideas on our lives today. It’s common for visitors to feel a stronger connection to the history surrounding the site and leave changed from their experience here. Learn more about our exhibits and purchase your tickets.

Special Exhibits

Reflections on Grief and Child Loss

When Abraham and Mary Lincoln’s son, Willie, died at 11 years old in February 1862, they once again experienced what is called “the greatest tragedy.” Willie was their second son to die from an illness in childhood. The Lincolns were eager for solace and a place to grieve this loss when they moved to the Cottage at the Soldiers’ Home. When describing their move, Mary Lincoln wrote, “When we are in sorrow, quiet is very necessary to us.” The trauma of child loss shaped both Lincolns. It seeded new
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History of the Soldiers’ Home

The History of the Soldiers’ Home provides an overview of the rich history of the nation’s first home for retired and disabled soldiers, now known as the Armed Forces Retirement Home, serving veterans of all branches of the military. Historical images illustrate the evolution of the property over time and point to its future. From the founding of the “Military Asylum,” to the establishment of the adjacent first national cemetery for soldiers before the Civil War, to the declaration of the President Lincoln
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Lincoln Family at the Soldiers’ Home

Lincoln Family at the Soldiers’ Home explores the reasons Abraham Lincoln and his family hoped to and eventually succeeded in relocating to the Soldiers’ Home three years in a row.  Why would the family go to the trouble of moving each year, only to be three short miles north of the Executive Mansion, as the White House was then known?  This exhibit demonstrates that the Lincoln’s new residence was far from a sanctuary and that living at the Soldiers’ Home brought the family closer to the war.
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Lincoln the Commander-in-Chief

Lincoln the Commander-in-Chief explores the contours of Abraham Lincoln’s rise to the presidency and his leadership while in office. The exhibit gives special attention to the act Lincoln himself said he would be remembered for, which he drafted his first season in residence—the Emancipation Proclamation. A short documentary film explores the origins and evolution of Abraham Lincoln’s beliefs. Using quotes and details from those who knew Abraham Lincoln best, the exhibit lifts the veil on how the war shaped
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Wartime Washington

Wartime Washington illustrates the ways in which the city that greeted the Lincolns was a study in contrasts. A southern town, from which many Confederate sympathizers fled, it swelled with a flood of northerners eager to join the war effort. As the war dragged on, a reverse migration brought southern deserters, spies, and the newly emancipated. Washington also embodied the nation’s most divisive contrast as the slaveholding capital of the antislavery Union, until Abraham Lincoln signed the Congressional act
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Reflections on Grief and Child Loss — Understanding History (and Ourselves) Through Empathy — NOW OPEN

President Lincoln’s Cottage has opened Reflections on Grief and Child Loss, a first of its kind exhibit that bridges the Lincolns’ ​experience of the death of their children with modern families whose children have died inexplicably or from illness, disease, physical and gun violence. The exhibit will identify themes and ideas to bring light to the experience of child loss across time and experience and will remain open for at least two years.

Lincoln’s Slippers — Bringing Lincoln to Life Through Personal Artifacts

Meetings at the Cottage were often impromptu and informal, and Lincoln was known to greet guests while wearing carpet slippers. An original pair of Lincoln’s own slippers is on public display at President Lincoln’s Cottage; the slippers are on loan from the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums in Fremont, OH.

– Patron Visitor

Anyone interested in American history should visit this site.

– Patron Visitor

The story you tell is so important.

– Patron Visitor

The history learned from just one visit could make up for a whole semester of classes.

– Patron Visitor

There is a sacredness to this place that transcends time, religion, and politics. It is both humble in its appointments and mighty in its history.

– Patron Visitor

The visit to Lincoln’s Cottage changed my thinking about the way that important decisions were made by our 16th president.

– Patron Visitor

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Lincoln’s Cottage on two occasions and in doing so, the man became human to me instead of a distant, unknowable icon.

Tour Schedule

*Space is limited to allow space for social distancing and reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure.  Please arrive at your scheduled time as that is the only way to ensure entry into the Cottage.

Wednesday through Monday

9:30 am – 10:15 am 

10: 30 am – 11:15 am 

11:30 am – 12:15 pm

1:30 pm – 2:15 pm

2:30 pm – 3:15 pm 

3:30 pm – 4:15 pm

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Important Visitor Info

Planning your trip to President Lincoln’s Cottage? Take a look at our visitor guidelines to learn more about how to plan your experience and what to expect during your visit.