Abraham Lincoln Association (ALA) proposes to spend $400,000 to build a replica
of the cottage in which the Lincoln family lived for two years! The ALA also
proposes to donate this replica cottage to Lincoln Home National Historic Site
and seeks to have it incorporated into the Site through an expansion of its
boundary, even though the National Park Service has expressed no interest in
a replica of the cottage that the young Lincoln family lived in could
give a conjectural idea of what their home may have looked like
for two years, it would do nothing to enrich our
understanding of this great American president. It would provide no
insights into the life of Lincoln or his family.
communicate the values of the natural and cultural resources that it preserves,
the National Park Service uses what is known as “thematic interpretation.”
Themes are universal messages, ideals, meanings, and truths. They are the
reasons why we preserve our history in the first place. As Freeman Tilden wrote:
“Information, as such, is not interpretation. Interpretation is revelation
based on information.” A good overview of the principles of interpretation can
be found here:
is nothing in the ALA’s “Proposal for Creating a Replica of Lincoln’s
Springfield Cottage” that qualifies as a theme that cannot be communicated at
the existing Lincoln Home. The proposed cottage replica adds nothing to the
Site’s interpretive values.
interpretive themes for Lincoln Home National Historic Site are documented in
the Site’s Long Range Interpretive Plan (LRIP). A copy of the plan is available
primary interpretive themes are on pages 5-7. The six-room, story-and-a-half
cottage that was lived in by the Lincolns for about two years does not support
any of these primary themes.
Abraham Lincoln Association proposes to spend $400,000 on building a replica of
the cottage in which the Lincoln family lived for two years. This replica does
nothing to enhance the interpretive program of Lincoln Home National Historic Site.