By David J. Kent
Wednesday, August 4, 2022
The Lincoln Presidential Foundation (the Foundation), based in Springfield, Illinois, today made a huge announcement. The Foundation is run by an old Lincoln Group of DC friend, Erin Carlson Mast, formerly the CEO of Washington, DC's President Lincoln's Cottage and now President and CEO of the Lincoln Presidential Foundation.
The Foundation has received "a six-figure gift" from the M.G. Nelson Family Foundation to "create a new visitor experience for young people at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield." Those who have visited the Lincoln home (if you haven't, you should) may recall a small building across the street. That building is the Corneau House and is currently not open to the public. That will shortly change.
The new donation will cover the entirety of the project cost, which is expected to include interpretative planning, design, fabrication, and installation of exhibits in the Corneau House. The exhibits will be youth-centered and focused on the historic neighborhood and importance of the Springfield community towards the development of Abraham Lincoln. The Foundation has engaged the McCullough Creative firm for the design and build-out of the project, which is expected to take approximately one year to complete.
In speaking about the youth-focused project, Mast noted that:
“This will be the first time in the site’s history that a space is designed specifically for a youth audience. Our hope is that creating this new experience will better serve the young people who already visit and provide even more reason for people of all ages to learn about the life and legacy of one our country’s most influential presidents.”
This isn't the only project going on associated with the Lincoln home. Separate from the current project, the Abraham Lincoln Association (ALA) has been raising money and working with a design firm to recreate the original Lincoln cottage that the Lincoln family lived in for most of their time at that location. As most Lincoln fans know, a considerable expansion was added to the home in the 1850s that made it into the building we've come to know and love. Under the efforts of ALA President Michael Burlingame, plans are moving forward to build a historically accurate version of the original home to be located a short walk away, thus giving visitors a greater understanding of the Lincoln family home life.
The new project funded by the Nelson Family through the Foundation will further enhance the visitor experience.