Tuesday, 19 November 2013 00:00

President Lincoln's Cottage

President Lincoln's Cottage is a national monument on the grounds of the Soldiers' Home, known today as the Armed Forces Retirement Home. It is located near the Petworth and Park View neighborhoods of Washington, D.C.. President Lincoln's Cottage was formerly known as Anderson Cottage.

President Abraham Lincoln and family resided seasonally on the grounds of the Soldiers' Home to escape the heat and political pressure of downtown Washington, as did President James Buchanan (1857–1861) before him. President Lincoln's Cottage also served as the Summer White House for Presidents Rutherford B. Hayes (1877–1881) and Chester A. Arthur (1881–1885)

The historic Cottage, built in the Gothic revival style, was constructed from 1842 to 1843 as the home of George Washington Riggs, who went on to establish the Riggs National Bank in Washington, D.C. Lincoln lived in the cottage June to November 1862 through 1864 and during the first summer living there, Lincoln drafted the preliminary draft of the Emancipation Proclamation. Mary Todd Lincoln fondly recalled the campus; in 1865, she wrote, "How dearly I loved the Soldiers' Home."

The Soldiers' Home stands on 251 acres (1.02 km2) atop the third highest point in Washington. The Home was designated a National Historic Landmark on November 7, 1973, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 11, 1974. In 2000, the cottage was placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's 11 Most Endangered list. Then about 2.3 acres (9,300 m2) of the Home was proclaimed a National Monument by President Bill Clinton on July 7, 2000. The National Trust took on the restoration which was completed in 2007. The Cottage exterior was restored to the period of Lincoln’s occupancy in the 1860s by the Philadelphia firm J. S. Cornell & Son, according to the standards of the National Park Service. Today it is managed through a cooperative agreement between the Armed Forces Retirement Home and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

President Lincoln's Cottage opened to the public on February 18, 2008, as a National Trust historic site. A reproduction of the Lincoln desk on which he wrote the Emancipation Proclamation was commissioned by the Trust for use in the Cottage. The original drop-lid walnut paneled desk is in the Lincoln Bedroom of the White House. The desk is the only surviving piece of furniture that is known to have been placed in the White House and the Cottage during the Lincoln era.

The adjacent Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center features exhibits about the Soldiers' Home, wartime Washington, D.C., Lincoln as Commander-in-Chief during the Civil War, and a special exhibit gallery. President Lincoln's Cottage and Visitor Education Center is open to the public for tours seven days a week.

Friday, 22 November 2013 00:00

Rappahannock Railway Workers Museum

Every Saturday morning from 9am-12pm the National Railway Historical Society opens its Railroad and Railway Workers Museum to vsitors who enjoy the days of olde.  See everything from tools and equipment used by railway workers of the past century and the many other train related items, Railway Express Baggage car, restored cabooses, and the grounds containing various signalling and Maintenance of Way equipment.  Members are on hand to provide more detailed explanations of railroad equipment. operations and safety.  Weather and other conditions permitting board the restored crew cars used by the workers in the early to mid twentieth century and take a liesurely excursion along the Spotsylvania County tracks along Deep Run. 

Thursday, 31 October 2013 00:00

S. Dillon Ripley Smithsonian Gallery

The International Gallery is home to a revolving and exciting array of visiting exhibitions. Check at the information desk in the Castle for show information. Enter at the copper-domed kiosk on Jefferson Drive next to the Castle.

American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music (July 11, 2011-Oct. 9, 2011). One of the first interactive museum exhibitions to tell the story of the profound influence and impact of Latinos in American popular music, including jazz, R&B, rock 'n' roll and hip-hop.

Artists At Work (June 23, 2011-Oct. 2, 2011) Ripley Center Concourse. Works in all media—painting, sculpture, photography and video—by Smithsonian staff.

The Discovery Theater

The Discovery Theater offers the best in live performing arts for young people. Each season more than 30 performances feature puppets, music, theater, storytelling, dance and cutting-edge science for groups and families. Visit DiscoveryTheater.org or call 202-633-8700.

SITES

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) showcases 40 to 50 exhibitions in cities across the nation every year. Look for a Smithsonian traveling exhibition scheduled to visit your community at sites.si.edu.

Thursday, 31 October 2013 00:00

Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Smithsonian American Art Museum includes paintings, sculpture, photographs, folk art, and decorative arts from the colonial period to today—offer an unparalleled record of the American experience.

Highlights Lunder Conservation Center; Luce Foundation Center for American Art, a public study center with more than 3,300 artworks to explore; Kogod Courtyard with free, public Wi-Fi internet access

Published in Historical Attractions
Thursday, 31 October 2013 00:00

Smithsonian Institution Visitor Center

The Smithsonian Institution Visitor Center was the first Smithsonian building, designed by architect James Renwick, Jr., whose other works include St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City and the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery, also in Washington D.C. James Renwick designed the Castle as the focal point of a picturesque landscape on the Mall, using elements from Georg Moller's Denkmäler der deutschen Baukunst.

The building is completed in the Gothic Revival style with Romanesque motifs. This style was chosen to evoke the Collegiate Gothic in England and the idea of knowledge and wisdom. The façade is built with red sandstone from the Seneca quarry in Seneca, Maryland in contrast to the granite, marble and yellow sandstone from the other major buildings in Washington, D.C.

The main Smithsonian visitor center is also located here, with interactive displays and maps. Computers electronically answer most common questions. A crypt just inside the north entrance houses the tomb of James Smithson.

Friday, 22 November 2013 00:00

The National Civil War Life Museum

The National Civil War Life Museum is a step back in time to the days of the Civil War. With more than 2,000 exhibits on display, anyone visiting the museum will feel what it was really like to have not only fought in the war, but to have lived during the time of the war.

Friday, 22 November 2013 00:00

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

The Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, is also known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and has never been officially named. The Tomb of the Unknowns stands atop a hill overlooking Washington, D.C. On March 4, 1921, Congress approved the burial of an unidentified American soldier from World War I in the plaza of the new Memorial Amphitheater.

The white marble sarcophagus has a flat-faced form and is relieved at the corners and along the sides by neo-classic pilasters, or columns, set into the surface. Sculpted into the east panel which faces Washington, D.C., are three Greek figures representing Peace, Victory, and Valor. The six wreaths, three sculpted on each side, represent the six major campaigns of World War I. Inscribed on the back of the Tomb are the words:

Published in Historical Attractions
Thursday, 31 October 2013 00:00

Tudor Place House & Garden

Tudor Place is a Federal-style mansion in Washington, D.C. that was originally the home of Thomas Peter and his wife, Martha Parke Custis Peter, a granddaughter of Martha Washington. Step-grandfather George Washington left her the $8,000 in his will that was used to purchase the property in 1805. The property, comprising one city block on the crest of Georgetown Heights, had an excellent view of the Potomac River.

Published in Historical Attractions
Wednesday, 30 October 2013 00:00

U.S. Capitol Historical Society

The United States Capitol Historical Society is a nonprofit and nonpartisan educational organization created in 1962 to promote the history of the Capitol and Congress, USCHS serves as an informational and educational resource for its members and the general public.

The Society was established in 1962 as a private non-profit organization. Founded through a bipartisan effort by Congress, the society's creation was spearheaded by its first president, Representative Fred Schwengel of Iowa. The group holds a congressional charter under Title 36 of the United States Code. They have an Oral History collection at the Library of Congress.

Thursday, 31 October 2013 00:00

U.S. Department of the Interior Museum

The U.S. Department of the Interior Museum educates the public and DOI employees about the current missions and programs of the Department of the Interior, the history of the Department, and the art and architecture of its headquarters building in Washington, DC.

The Interior Museum acquires objects appropriate for promoting understanding of the Department's activities. The Museum holds these objects in trust and provides access to them for use in supporting the missions of the Department through the documentation, preservation, and management of our collections in ways that enhance their long-term availability for these purposes.

The U.S. Department of the Interior Museum was created by Interior Secretary Harold Ickes to help the American taxpayer understand the work of the Department. In 1935, Ickes appointed Carl Russell from the National Park Service museum division to head the museum committee charged with developing and designing the exhibits. Russell immediately gathered a staff of curators, model makers, artists, sculptors, and others to begin work on the Museum.

The construction of the Main Interior Building provided an opportunity for the new Museum and it was given one floor of an entire wing. The space was not originally intended to be a museum gallery, a challenge for the museum committee, which had to work around a long narrow wing with low ceilings and several load bearing columns.

A curator was assigned to each of the Department’s bureaus. Together these teams developed the exhibits featuring objects, photographs, maps, watercolor illustrations, and interpretative panels. Silhouettes cut from zinc to illustrate the work and mission of the Department were installed in some of the lighting coves above the exhibits.

The museum opened on March 8, 1938 and featured 1,000 objects in 95 exhibits. Secretary Ickes held a formal invitation-only party to open the museum on that day, the party also commemorated the 89th anniversary of the first day in office for the Department’s first secretary, Thomas Ewing. The Museum opened to the public the next day and was an immediate success with 3,000 to 4,000 people visiting the museum monthly.

 

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