Things to know before you visit President Lincoln’s Cottage in D.C.

Wander through history at President Lincoln’s Cottage to the place where Abraham Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation. This turning point in U.S. history and pivotal moment in the Civil War is a must-visit for history buffs, and children learning about the Civil War and slavery in America.

In our effort to highlight all of the best historic sites and museums in Washington, D.C, we spoke with Rebecca Kilborne, Marketing and Communications Manager at the President Lincoln’s Cottage, to share what makes this museum special, why you should visit, and what you need to know before you go.

President Lincolns Cottage
credit Carol M. Highsmith Photography

Where is President Lincoln’s Cottage located?

Location: President Lincoln’s Cottage, 140 Rock Creek Church Rd NW, Washington, DC 20011.

What topics does President Lincoln’s Cottage cover?

President Lincoln’s Cottage is a National Monument, National Historic Landmark, and a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation that covers history, equality, freedom and civic responsibility. Located on a picturesque hilltop, the cottage at the Soldier’s Home is where Lincoln visited wounded soldiers and spent time surrounded by self-emancipated men, women and children.

What is your museum’s claim to fame?

President Lincoln’s Cottage was the summer home of Abraham Lincoln where he drafted the Emancipation Proclamation.

What is your favorite exhibit or artifact in the museum?

At the moment, my favorite artifact is Lincoln’s carpet slippers, which are on loan from the Hayes Library.

President Lincolns Cottage
Robert H. Smith Visitor Center • credit Carol M. Highsmith Photography

What kinds of special exhibits and events do you host throughout the year?

We offer scholarly talks on Lincoln and the Civil War, events that honor Lincoln’s legacy and events that continue Lincoln’s fight for freedom.

Are there guided tours available?

Our guided tours through the Lincoln’s Cottage reveal new perspectives on Lincoln and his presidency. Our tickets are sold through the website, and tours take place in English.

How much time should someone plan to spend at the museum?

We recommend people spend at least 1.5 hours at the Cottage. Tours are one hour, and visitors can enjoy the exhibits in our Smith Visitor Education Center.

What should someone bring with them and what items are not allowed in the museum?

We currently do not allow photography inside the Cottage.

Is photography allowed inside (without flash)?

Photography is not allowed inside of Lincoln’s Cottage.

What should parents of young children know before visiting the museum?

Our tour guides are trained to involve people of all ages in the tours.

President Lincolns Cottage
Emancipation Desk • credit Carol M. Highsmith Photography

What’s the coolest item for sale in the gift shop?

Custom replicas of Lincoln’s Slippers are for sale and a must.

Is there a museum cafe or restaurant?

We do sell snacks and coffee, but we recommend eating at one of the many fabulous neighborhood restaurants.

What should teachers planning a field trip know before reaching out to you?

Our education team will work with each teacher to prepare an experience that is inspiring for students of all ages.

What else should a visitor know before visiting?

Be prepared for a different museum experience in this “Museum of ideas.” There are few objects in the home itself. Our Lincoln Cottage tours focus on little known stories of Lincoln at the Cottage and primary documents.

President Lincolns Cottage
Library • credit Carol M. Highsmith Photography

What are your normal days and hours of operation?

We are open every day from 9:30am- 4:30pm. Our last tour begins at 3pm each day. Please check our website before you arrived for unexpected closings and other details at LincolnCottage.org.

Is the museum accessible?

Yes, our visitor center is accessible via the east entrance ramp. All exhibits are on the ground floor for guests to explore. The Cottage is accessible by a grade entrance, elevator, and wheel chair lift, but you will need to let staff know you need access to these tools when you check in.

Does the museum have a bag check or coat room?

Yes. Please note that strollers may not access the Cottage. Staff instruct you on where to leave it.

Is there parking available?

Yes, there is free on-site parking in our visitor lot, located adjacent to the Smith Visitor Education Center.

Is there an admission fee?

  • Adults: $15
  • Children (6-12): $5
  • Military: $12
  • Members: $12

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