President Lincoln’s Cottage is a home for brave ideas. For over a quarter of his Presidency, Abraham Lincoln lived on an uplifting hilltop in Northwest Washington, D.C., while making some of his most critical decisions. While in residence at the Cottage, Lincoln visited with wounded soldiers, spent time with self-emancipated men, women and children, and developed the Emancipation Proclamation. The human cost of the Civil War surrounded him, undoubtedly impacted his thinking, and strengthened his resolve to challenge the status quo. Through innovative guided tours, exhibits and programs, President Lincoln’s Cottage uses Lincoln’s example to inspire visitors to take their own path to greatness, and preserve this place as an authentic, tangible connection to the past and a beacon of hope for all who take up Lincoln’s unfinished work.
President Lincoln’s Cottage at the Soldiers’ Home is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) public charity. President Lincoln’s Cottage is also a National Monument, a National Historic Landmark, and a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It is operated via a cooperative agreement with the Armed Forces Retirement Home and the National Trust.
Because President Lincoln’s Cottage is located on the grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home, please follow these guidelines when planning a visit:
-For ticket information and to purchase a ticket, click here.
-Groups of 10 or more can fill out the online application form here to receive a group discount.
-All tours are guided and space is limited. We cannot guarantee entry to President Lincoln’s Cottage without a reservation.
-Tours begin promptly. Check-in at the Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center 15 minutes before your tour is scheduled to begin. If you are more than 10 minutes late, we cannot guarantee your spot on the tour. For group tours, if you arrive 30 minutes late we reserve the right to cancel your tour.
-President Lincoln’s Cottage is on the grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home. Security for the Armed Forces Retirement Home requires visitors to show valid identification at the security gate in order to enter the property. Please be prepared to show your ID.
The Signature Cottage Tour lasts approximately one hour, including an orientation activity in the Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center. Premium tours may last longer depending on the options selected.
Amateur exterior photography of the Cottage and Visitor Education Center is permitted for personal use — feel free to tag us on social media @lincolnscottage! Photography, video cameras, selfie sticks, and tripods are prohibited in both buildings without prior written consent.
Professional photography, filming, and photography for publication or commercial purposes must be scheduled in advance, requires written permission from the Executive Director, and is subject to fees. Contact our Marketing and Membership Coordinator, Curtis Harris, at CHarris@savingplaces.org for questions and details.
Strollers are permitted in the Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center, but are prohibited inside President Lincoln’s Cottage. Staff will instruct you where you may park the stroller before touring the Cottage.
The Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center is accessible by our east entrance ramp. All exhibits and visitor restrooms are on the first floor. The Cottage is accessible by a grade entrance, elevator, and wheel chair lift. There are restrictions on use and a staff member must be present to operate the elevator and lift, so please alert the Museum Store attendant when you check-in if you require use of the elevator and lift so that we may properly assist you.
Hearing enhancement and ASL tour devices are also available upon request. For details, please call the Museum Store at 202-829-0436.
After an eight-year restoration project, President Lincoln’s Cottage held a Grand Opening Ceremony on February 18, 2008 and opened to the public on February 19, 2008. The Cottage itself was first built in 1842.
President Lincoln’s Cottage and the Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center may be rented for special events and meetings. For information about use of the facilities and rates, please visit our Site Rental page.
How much did restoring President Lincoln’s Cottage, landscape, and establishing the Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center cost?
Over $15 million was raised from individual, corporate and federal sources to complete all the activities required to open the site to the public for the first time, including an incredible amount of research, planning, restoration, exhibit development, and infrastructure.
Since the grand opening in 2008, the Cottage has continued to fundraise in order to ensure the continuation of programming, ongoing preservation, and development of new educational programs so that it can preserve the Cottage as an inspiration for all those committed to Lincoln’s ideals of liberty, justice and equality. To learn more about how you can help, see our Donate page.
Who funded the restoration of President Lincoln’s Cottage and the Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center?
Major donors to the Project include Robert H. Smith, the U.S. Congress, United Technologies Corp., Save America’s Treasures, Matthew and Ellen Simmons, the National Endowment for the Humanities, AT&T Foundation, 1772 Foundation, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, DC. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Goldman Sachs, John F.W. Rogers, Mark Taper Foundation, Textron Inc., Winnick Family Foundation, Civil War Preservation Trust, Linda B. Bruckheimer, HGTV, Kiplinger Foundation, National Park Service, PEPCO, and Tourism Cares/Trip Mate Insurance.
No, President Lincoln’s Cottage is not part of the National Park Service system even though it is a National Monument and a National Historic Landmark. President Lincoln’s Cottage is an independent 501(c)(3) public charity and nonprofit operated through a cooperative agreement with the Armed Forces Retirement Home and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center was the first building at a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The building officially attained LEED Gold Certification in 2009. The National Trust for Historic Preservation rehabilitated the historic building in a way that minimized adverse environmental impact. For more information on the Visitor Education Center and the self-guided “eco tour,” click here.
President Lincoln’s Cottage is a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which restored and first opened to the public the Cottage. The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places. We are the cause that inspires Americans to save the places where history happened. The cause that connects us to our diverse pasts, weaving a multi-cultural nation together. The cause that transforms communities from places where we live into places that we love. As the leading voice for preservation, we are the cause for people saving places.
For more information visit www.preservationnation.org.
The Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH) is an independent federal agency. Its mission is to fulfill our nation’s commitment to its Veterans by providing a premier retirement community with exceptional residential care and extensive support services. Through a cooperative agreement with the AFRH, the National Trust for Historic Preservation assumed stewardship of the restoration and operation of President Lincoln’s Cottage in 2000.
In January 2016, President Lincoln’s Cottage at the Soldiers’ Home, an independent 501(c)(3), assumed responsibility for the operation and governance of the site, via agreement with the National Trust and the AFRH.
For information about the AFRH, please see their website: www.afrh.gov.