Abraham Lincoln is one of our countries’ most beloved Presidents. We see him as a common man who was elected as our 16th President during a tumultuous time in our history and led the country through a war and abolished slavery before he was assassinated at Ford’s Theater in 1865. For fans of President Lincoln, Washington DC is a wonderful place to learn about his life!
Start or end your pilgrimage at the Lincoln Memorial. Take the time to climb the steps, read the inscriptions and to look across the mall at the Capitol.
If able to arrange tickets ahead of time through your Congressman or Senator, visit the White House to learn more about the building, the office and the Presidents who live and governed there.
A few blocks away from the White House is New York Ave Presbyterian Church where Lincoln, along with several other President’s worshiped. Here you can see Lincoln’s pew, Lincoln’s hitching post, stain glass windows with Lincolns’ likeness, and an early version of the emancipation document signed by Lincoln on July 14, 1862.
Several blocks from the church you can find the Portrait Gallery which has a large civil war collection, portraits of each US President and is the building where President Lincoln had his second inaugural ball. The Gallery also has the last photograph taken of the President.
Of course, make sure you do both the tour and take in a show at Ford’s Theater. Your museum ticket also includes the Peterson House across the street where Lincoln died. http://www.fords.org/
There is a also free Lincoln Assassination walking tour and you can make reservations at the attached link. http://www.freetoursbyfoot.com/washington-dc-tours/walking-tours/lincoln-assassination/. You can also explore the DC Heritage trail Civil War to Civil Rights. http://www.culturaltourismdc.org/portal/821
Other worthwhile stops include the National Museum of American History to see Lincoln’s top hat; the Library of Congress to see their collection of Civil War photos; and a tour of the US Capitol to see his statue on display.
If you have transportation, you can also visit Lincoln’s Cottage where he spent his summers and drafted portions of the Emancipation Proclamation. http://www.lincolncottage.org/
Likewise, an easy day trip from Washington DC is Gettysburg, one of the bloodiest and pivotal battles of the Civil War. And of course the location of the so named, Gettysburg Address. And if you have time, there are dozen’s of other Civil War battlefields just a short drive from DC.