President Lincoln’s Cottage is a significant historical site, with rich and meaningful experiences awaiting every visit. Below are some of the most common visitor questions we get about the site. If you have a question not listed here you’d like answered before your visit, you can submit it directly by emailing us at [email protected].
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 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:
Our guided tours are approximately one hour. We suggest you leave extra time to explore the exhibits in our Visitor Center and/or take our self-guided landscape tour to see more of our beautiful grounds.
Yes. Georgia Avenue Petworth Station is 3/4ths of a mile from the Cottage. The H8 bus stops in front of our entrance gates and security guard station.
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 Communications Manager Rebecca Kilborne at [email protected] 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.
Only accredited service animals are permitted on our campus. Exceptions may be made for pets in a wedding party at the request of the betrothed.
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.
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.
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 not-for-profit 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 the Cottage prior to its opening. The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places. They are a leading voice for preservation, 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.