February 17, 2016
(Photos courtesy of President Lincoln’s Cottage)
President Lincoln’s Cottage, an internship partner site for Real World History, is the small Washington, DC home in which President Abraham Lincoln lived. Unlike most historic homes, you won’t find velvet ropes separating the visitor from Lincoln’s furniture. Instead of the traditional visitor experience of shuffling through a space looking at items, guests at President Lincoln’s Cottage are invited to get up close and personal with the Cottage itself and the ideas that developed during the President’s time at his home; as the Cottage’s vision statement explains, their goal is for visitors to “meet the true Lincoln and continue his fight for freedom.”
This intention unfolds through various exhibits, including one about immigration; visitors are invited to share their own immigration story by posting on the wall about their family’s journey to the United States. A focus on freedom also infuses the Cottage’s Students Opposing Slavery (SOS) youth education program, which is for “students dedicated to continuing Lincoln’s fight for freedom by raising awareness about modern slavery within a high-risk population – teenagers.” A cornerstone to this program is the annual weeklong SOS International Summit during which adolescents from around the world come together at President Lincoln’s Cottage to discuss the realities of human trafficking and strategies to raise awareness in their communities when they return home. Created in 2012 by four teenagers who felt a need to contribute to ending slavery in their lifetimes, the Summit is now a “growing network of young abolitionists” around the world.
This semester, one Real World History student has the pleasure of completing an internship at President Lincoln’s Cottage where he will use his interests and skills to help spread awareness of human trafficking in his community. To accomplish this, he plans to create social media and blog posts for President Lincoln’s Cottage, speak candidly with his friends and family about this little-discussed issue, and create a club at his school to educate peers and teachers alike.
The partnership between Real World History and President Lincoln’s Cottage was a natural fit as Inspired Teaching’s 4 I’s – Intellect, Inquiry, Imagination, and Integrity® – are clearly present in the Cottage’s vision statement, its SOS program, and the level of participation they expect from their Real World History intern. President Lincoln’s Cottage sees a similar strong fit:
“The skills students gain through Real World History – critical thinking, complex problem solving, and collaboration – are foundational to their development as civically engaged citizens of the world,” says Callie Hawkins, Associate Director for Programs. “As a result, partnering with Real World History was a no-brainer at President Lincoln’s Cottage, a place that inspired courageous ideas, respectful dialogue, and thoughtful compromise. President Lincoln spent considerable time here thinking through some of his most crucial decisions and nurturing ideas that continue to impact us today. Working with students from Real World History provides us incomparable insight into how we can best relate the history of what happened here with similar issues faced by today’s youth.”
Click here to learn more about President Lincoln’s Cottage.