President Lincoln’s Washington



lincoln_ducksinpoolStart your day at the awe-inspiring Lincoln Memorial. Dedicated in 1922, the 19-foot statue of the 16th president presides over the National Mall. Look for the names of the 36 states, the number that was in the Union at the time of Lincoln’s death in 1865, engraved over the memorial’s 38 columns. The word “Emancipation” is engraved on the south wall and hangs over the inscription of the Gettysburg address. Underground, the memorial houses several interactive exhibits about President Lincoln.

Walk over to the Washington Monument. The 555 feet 5 1/8 inches monument appears to be two different colors. That’s because construction halted during the Civil War when funding ran out. When it resumed in 1879, marble of a slightly different shade was imported from a different state. The monument is currently closed for repairs due to the 2011 earthquake. Stunning views of the National Mall can be seen from the top of the clock tower at the Old Post Office.


lincoln-monumentHead over to the National Museum of American History. Grab an all-American bite at the Smithsonian museum’s Stars and Stripes Café and then trip to the third floor to find Lincoln’s famous stovepipe hat, which he wore the night of his assassination, April 15, 1865. The museum is also home to an exhibition about the real lives of first ladies. A silk taffeta dress worn by Mary Todd Lincoln is among the finery on display.

Stop inside Madame Tussauds Washington, D.C. to visit the Presidents Gallery, an interactive, educational exhibition featuring life-size, 3-D models of all the presidents in fourteen thematic rooms. Be sure to stand up straight when you snap a photo with Lincoln, he was 6’4” tall.


Spend the rest of the afternoon at the National Archives, where the Emancipation Proclamation is one of the treasures in their permanent collection. On Jan. 1, 1863 Lincoln issued the document, which stated “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.” Jan. 1, 2013 is the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the National Archives will mark the milestone with special events and exhibitions. The Emancipation Proclamation is too fragile for permanent display, so it is available to the public galleries on rare occasion. Visitors are treated to the original Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence in the dramatic rotunda.

For dinner, grab a bite in the nearby Downtown/Chinatown/Penn Quarter neighborhood, where there are a number of restaurants and bars on 7th Street.

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