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Presidents' Day: Fun-Filled History Lessons

Teresa Bell, center, from Ludlow-Taylor Elementary helps lead a class through Lincoln's Cottage.
Teresa Bell, center, from Ludlow-Taylor Elementary helps lead a class through Lincoln's Cottage. (By Jacquelyn Martin -- Associated Press)
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By Jessica McFadden
Special to The Washington Post
Friday, February 6, 2009

The mutton chops and top hat, the powdered white curls and wooden teeth.

How could a child not be fascinated by iconic presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln?

The life history and legacy of the first and 16th presidents are American classroom staples that never go out of style. "Their exploits as young men have appeal for children of all ages," says Jonathan Brand, high school history teacher and headmaster of Chelsea Academy in Front Royal, Va. "Their roles in shaping the American republic and presence in modern kids' history lessons are without equal."

The bicentennial of Lincoln's birth is Thursday, and events abound throughout the Washington area for families to satisfy their thirst for information about his life and contributions. "So many things about Lincoln's life story are relatable to every American. And the field of study on Lincoln is so dynamic; 200 years after his birth, we're still discovering new items and continually learning more about him," says Erin Carlson Mast, curator of President Lincoln's Cottage.

Here are a few prime opportunities to capitalize on your child's interest in these two historic presidents, or at least take that interest beyond seeing George and Abe's portraits on the weekly allowance of ones and fives.

National Archives

Constitution Avenue between Seventh and Ninth streets NW. 202-357-5000. http://www.archives.gov/nae.


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