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Reflections on Child Loss


President Lincoln's Cottage


Washington, DC

This exhibit looks at the Lincolns' experience as mourning parents who, by the time of Mary's death, had lost three of their four sons. The exhibit chronicles the impact of profound grief on the president and first lady, while paralleling the experiences of contemporary parents who have also confronted this unimaginable loss and grief. The intimate space explores different facets of grief including rituals that mark loss, social expectations, memories, and the change that grief provokes. Lightboxes display first-person quotes and images, showing the experiences of the Lincolns and today's families side by side to highlight surprising commonalities and important divergences. The gallery's centerpiece is a memorial: a lit, swaying, weeping willow that carries tributes on its leaves written by parents and families who have experienced this shattering loss. The exhibit provides resources for anyone hoping to support others in grief.
Video credit: Nora Neely and Andrew Kastner, Photo credit: Chris Ferenzi Photography

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