Free Admission and daily programs offered at the David Wills House in Gettysburg this summer

A view from the Lincoln bedroom inside the David Wills House. There is a yellow pattern wallpaper and from left to right: a mirrored dresser, a double bed with ornate headboard, and a night stand with pitcher and basin.
The view from the Lincoln bedroom inside the David Wills House.

NPS Photo

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News Release Date: May 14, 2018

Contact: Katie Lawhon, 717-338-4402

Beginning June 9 through the summer season, Gettysburg National Military Park will welcome visitors to the David Wills House on Lincoln Square in downtown Gettysburg for free.

No other location is as closely associated with Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address as the David Wills House except the Soldiers’ National Cemetery. The three-story brick house served as the home of David and Catherine Wills before and after the Battle of Gettysburg and was occupied by President Abraham Lincoln the night before the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery. Lincoln finished composing his Gettysburg Address in the second story bedroom the evening of November 18, 1863.

Museum exhibits at the David Wills House tell the story of the Wills family, the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg, and the significance and legacy of the Gettysburg Address.

 “We want the David Wills House to be part of every visit to Gettysburg,” said Chris Stein, Acting Superintendent of Gettysburg National Military Park. “The themes of the Gettysburg Address continue to be an inspiration to all Americans especially in times of crisis. The National Park Service museum in the home provides an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of the carnage of Gettysburg and the legacy of the American Civil War.”

From June 9 to August 12, David Wills House admission will be free, with added staffing by National Park Rangers, interns and Living Historians. Park Rangers will offer a daily program at 3 p.m. called, “Lincoln Comes to Gettysburg: Downtown History Hike.” The Ranger-guided walk will explore the impact of the battle upon the Gettysburg community, walk in the footsteps of President Lincoln, and visit the room where he completed the Gettysburg Address. This 75-minute program begins and ends inside the David Wills House.

In addition, park staff will be on site to share the story of the David Wills family before, during, and after the battle, the role of Wills in the creation of the National Cemetery, and highlight Lincoln’s visit and the crafting of the Gettysburg Address.

 “The Wills House is a tangible symbol of the residents of Gettysburg working together to heal their community after the battle,” said Matthew C. Moen, president of the Gettysburg Foundation. “Visitors cannot help but reflect upon Lincoln’s presence and timeless words at Gettysburg that blended humility with commemoration.” 

The David Wills House is managed and operated by the Gettysburg Foundation. Throughout the summer, the Gettysburg Foundation will continue to staff the front desk, provide visitor services and information, and manage the sales area.

On August 13, 2018, the fees will again be charged. For more information about hours and fees go to: https://www.nps.gov/gett/planyourvisit/david-wills-house.htm



Last updated: May 14, 2018

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1195 Baltimore Pike
Gettysburg, PA 17325

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