New Center for Education and Leadership Opens Its Doors
The new Center for Education and Leadership, adjacent to Petersen House, focuses on the lasting impact Abraham Lincoln’s presidency and assassination had on our country.
Permanent exhibits are located on the third and fourth floors, a rotating exhibit space on the second floor, and retail space on the ground floor. There are also two floors of education studios to house post-visit workshops, after-school programs, and teacher pro-
fessional development. A new elevator makes Petersen House accessible to those with special needs.
The lynchpin of the Center is a 34-foot tower of Lincoln books nestled in the center of the spiral staircase that joins the floors. The apparently endless number of books delivers the seminal message: The last word on Abraham Lincoln will never be written. The books used in this installation ingeniously have fireproof metal bodies painted with the “actual” covers familiar to all Lincoln buffs.
Visitors exiting Petersen House take the elevator to the fourth floor of the Center where they walk through a re-creation of Lincoln’s funeral train, complete with catafalque and Park Service funeral artifacts. They also see a wall map illuminating John Wilkes Booth’s escape route and a re-creation of the barn where the assassin was killed.
The third floor is the “legacy floor” exploring our evolving relationship with Lincoln: his presidency, his role as an icon, and his global
impact. Visitors can view a short film developed by the History Channel in the Lincoln Memorial Theater about Lincoln’s power to
effect social change. Lincoln in Pop Culture shows use and misuse of the Lincoln name to market products.
The second floor houses a Lincoln and Leadership exhibit through July 2012, which explores the qualities of good leadership through the lens of some of Abraham Lincoln’s key leadership principles. The exhibit stresses the universality of good leadership and highlights diverse and motivating examples of leadership. Multiple features encourage visitor participation and interaction.
The official ribbon cutting for the new Center will take place on February 8. Open houses, which will be held February 12 and 20, will feature activities both at Fords and the Center for Education and Leadership.
Written By Sarah Plumb, The Capital Guide Editor