originALs: Lincoln’s slippers

President Lincoln’s original slippers are on view at President Lincoln’s Cottage through November 30, 2014.

Slippers-smallWhile Abraham Lincoln’s public image was defined by his signature stovepipe hat, his private, more casual nature is highlighted in the newest exhibit at President Lincoln’s Cottage in Washington, DC. 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 in the Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center at President Lincoln’s Cottage from July 1, 2014 through November 30, 2014. The slippers are on loan from the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in Fremont, OH.

The slippers are the latest item to join “originALs,” a series of exhibitions at President Lincoln’s Cottage featuring original objects connected to President Abraham Lincoln that speak to the importance and complexity of the Lincoln story and relate directly to Lincoln’s time here at the Soldiers’ Home. Objects previously highlighted in the “originALs” series include President Lincoln’s personal briefcase, Tad Lincoln’s cherished photo album, and the Civil War diary of Private Albert Nelson See.

originALs: President Lincoln’s briefcase and Tad Lincoln’s photo album

President Lincoln’s original briefcase is on view from January 1, 2014 through June 30, 2014 at President Lincoln’s Cottage.

The briefcase that held Abraham Lincoln’s handwritten notes returns to Washington, DC for a six month exhibit at President Lincoln’s Cottage at the Soldiers’ Home. While living at the Cottage with his family during the summers of 1862, 1863, and 1864, President Lincoln carried papers in the briefcase on his daily commute to the White House. An 1864 photo album made for Tad Lincoln by the 150thPennsylvania Volunteers, a company stationed at the Cottage during the Civil War to guard the Lincoln family, will also be on view in the exhibit. The briefcase and photo album are on loan from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, IL, and will be on display at President Lincoln’s Cottage through the end of June 2014.

This exhibit is part of “originALs,” a series of exhibitions at President Lincoln’s Cottage highlighting original objects connected to President Abraham Lincoln that speak to the importance and complexity of the Lincoln story and relate directly to Lincoln’s time here at the Soldiers’ Home.


originALs: The Albert Nelson See Diary

For the first time ever, the diary and personal belongings of Albert Nelson See, a soldier who guarded President Lincoln at the Soldiers’ Home in Washington, DC, will be on public display.

The original Civil War diary and personal artifacts of Albert Nelson See, a member of Abraham Lincoln’s Presidential Guard, will go on public display for the first time in history at President Lincoln’s Cottage this autumn. See’s eye-witness accounts detail President Lincoln’s life at the Cottage, Jubal Early’s attack on Washington at Fort Stevens, and the inner workings of the presidential guard. Visitors to the exhibit will discover an authentic perspective of Civil War life in Washington. The exhibit opens to the public on September 26 2013 in the Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center at President Lincoln’s Cottage, and will remain on display until June 30, 2014.

This exhibit is the first in “originALs,” a series of exhibitions at President Lincoln’s Cottage highlighting an individual or small group of objects connected to President Lincoln that speak to the importance and complexity of the Lincoln story and relate directly to Lincoln’s time here at the Soldiers’ Home.

Click on the image to read an enlarged page from the diary!

Discover the Emancipation Proclamation at the Cottage

Join us as we welcome the Emancipation Proclamation to the Cottage!

President Lincoln’s Cottage will be the first public venue to display a rare, signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation recently purchased by David Rubenstein. This historic document will be on display at the Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center from September 22, the date Lincoln issued the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, through the end of April 2013.

Image source: Seth Kaller, Inc.

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Rare, Original Copy of the Emancipation Proclamation on Display at the Cottage

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President Lincoln’s Cottage will be the first public venue to display a rare, signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation recently purchased by David M. Rubenstein. The historic document will be displayed in the Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center at President Lincoln’s Cottage from September 22nd, 2012, the date Lincoln issued the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, through the end of April 2013.

“Lincoln Cottage was where much of the Emancipation Proclamation was drafted and reflected upon by President Lincoln, and it thus now seems among the most fitting places for this historic document to be displayed to the public. I am pleased and honored to help make this possible,” Rubenstein said.

“We are extremely grateful to David M. Rubenstein for lending us the Emancipation Proclamation for the 150th anniversary of Lincoln first issuing it to the public.” said Erin Carlson Mast, Director of President Lincoln’s Cottage. “The Emancipation Proclamation is one of the foremost symbols of freedom in our nation’s history. By viewing this rare copy of the proclamation at the very site where Lincoln thought through these nation-changing ideas, visitors will be able to gain a deeper understanding of the global and cultural importance of what took place at President Lincoln’s Cottage.”

President Lincoln developed the Emancipation Proclamation while living at the Cottage in the summer of 1862, making it the authentic place for understanding Lincoln’s ideas on slavery and emancipation.  President Lincoln’s Cottage, the “cradle of the Emancipation Proclamation,” is offering programs, special tours, and events in partnership with national organizations to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

“Can You Walk Away?” Opens Today!

The long-awaited exhibit on modern slavery in America opens to the public today at President Lincoln’s Cottage. Can You Walk Away? challenges people’s perceptions on this growing humanitarian issue at the very place President Lincoln developed his ideas on freedom in America 150 years ago.

Over 12 million men, women, and children are held in slavery across the globe today, more than at the height of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. “Plenty of Americans see slavery as an issue that was resolved during the Civil War or by the 13th Amendment in the war’s aftermath, not as a growing humanitarian crisis in our own country,” said Erin Carlson Mast, Director of President Lincoln’s Cottage. “But fundamentally, the same issue is at stake: People’s right to freedom.”

To create this exhibit, President Lincoln’s Cottage partnered with Polaris Project, a non-profit organization in Washington, DC that focuses on eliminating modern slavery and human trafficking in the United States and around the world. Polaris Project operates the National Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888) that has received about 45,000 calls since 2007. Worldwide Documentaries, Inc., and The mtvU Against Our Will Campaign contributed also content for the exhibit.

Visitors hear testimonies from survivors of human trafficking, learn about the state of slavery today, and have a chance to become a modern abolitionist and join in movement to stop this crisis. The exhibit is open through August 2013 in the Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center at President Lincoln’s Cottage. Mon-Sat 9:30am – 4:30pm, Sun 10:30am-4:30pm. The exhibit is free of charge but visitor discretion is advised as the exhibit contains graphic content that may be too sensitive for some guests.

To read the AP article on the exhibit click here.

Visit the exhibit site: www.lincolncottage.org/canyouwalkaway.html

New Exhibit Opening Presidents Day Weekend

On February 17, 2012, President Lincoln’s Cottage will open Can You Walk Away?, an exhibit on modern slavery and human trafficking in the United States. This exhibit is part of a year-long commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of Lincoln developing the Emancipation Proclamation at the Cottage. It will challenge perceptions of slavery in America today and raise awareness of a growing humanitarian crisis. By posing the question “can you walk away?” this exhibit will inspire people to engage with the modern abolitionist movement and to see that slavery is an ongoing issue that requires big thinking and direct action, just as it did in Lincoln’s time.

Can You Walk Away? will be located in the Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center at President Lincoln’s Cottage from February 17, 2012 through August 31, 2013. Visitor Center hours are Monday – Saturday 9:30am-4:30pm and Sunday 10:30am-4:30pm. For more information, visit our website: www.lincolncottage.org

New Exhibit Opens at the Cottage

capitol dome

President Lincoln’s Cottage opened Seat of War: A Panoramic View of Civil War Washington Through Historic Prints early this month in the Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center at the Cottage. This exhibit illuminates President Lincoln’s Civil War Washington through historic prints from our collection. It will run through the holidays and close on January 15, 2012.

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Cataloging Cemeteries

By Zachary Klitzman

One reason President Lincoln moved to the Cottage was to escape the constant reminders that he encountered at the White House of the ongoing Civil War.  But even here at the bucolic Soldiers’ Home, Lincoln could not completely escape the war.  Looking just a few hundred yards to the northeast of the Cottage, the President could see the first national cemetery, with dozens of weekly burials.

View of the Soldiers’ Home National Cemetery in 1864.

Opened in August of 1861 in response to the bloodshed of the Battle of Manassas, this cemetery, now officially called the United States Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery, lies adjacent to its namesake retirement home.  Although the cemetery is not part of the standard tour at President Lincoln’s Cottage, visitors are welcome to explore the graves on their own.

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A Rare Piece of Lincoln History

By Sahand Miraminy

lincoln flagA sense of reverence was manifested as the renowned yet somewhat infrequently noted Lincoln Flag arrived to the grounds of President Lincoln’s Cottage. The large, bloodstained flag is in some ways evocative of the well known Shroud of Turin in that it conjures emotion, legend, and research, and is guarded for its integrity and character. The Flag has brought with it a sense of sorrow as well as pride. Many visitors have been impressed and surprised that the artifact has been preserved and saved.  Curator of Education, Callie Hawkins observes that “It is a whisper worthy piece. There is something about it that inspires the public to partake in an almost hush, vigil like observance.”  It is evident that the assassination of the President draws a great deal of curiosity and is still raw to many today. President Lincoln is oftentimes perceived as a martyr; his political actions and decisions regarding emancipation ultimately posed a threat during his life. We are still moved by the death of Lincoln because our ideals today have been heavily influenced on the decisions made during his presidency and time in residence at the Cottage.

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