Concept renderings, RAA.

A Home in Lancaster.
A Crossroads for The Nation.
A Landmark of Our Democracy.

The Thaddeus Stevens & Lydia Hamilton Smith Center for History and Democracy is an interpretive museum and education center being developed by LancasterHistory, a non-profit organization in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Set to open in 2025, the Center will examine the long, arduous struggle for freedom and equality in America through exhibits, immersive media experiences, and educational programs.

Housed in the former law office and home of Congressman Thaddeus Stevens and his confidante Lydia Hamilton Smith, the Center will combine historic buildings with a state-of-the-art museum to examine the lives and legacies of Stevens and Smith, and their social networks of abolitionists. The Center’s multi-faceted exhibits—developed in partnership with world-renowned museum designers and noted historians—will address issues of slavery, freedom, and the continuing fight for equality in the United States.

A rendering of the entrance inside the Stevens & Smith center with a glass walkway and multiple people walking around.
Welcome Overlook

While standing in the footprint of a documented Underground Railroad site, visitors will learn about slavery, resistance, and abolition in Lancaster County and along the Mason-Dixon Line. Exhibits will highlight the courage of freedom seekers escaping slavery and the stories of those who assisted their cause.

An older man with light skin and dark hand looks at the camera with his right hand tucked inside the inner fold of his jacket.

Thaddeus Stevens


One of the most powerful statesmen in American history, Stevens pushed his country towards equality before, during, and after the Civil War. As a congressman, he was at the front lines of the struggle against slavery. His visionary ideas, enshrined in the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the US Constitution, established freedom, legal equality, and universal male voting rights in what some historians call the Second Founding.

A woman with light skin and dark, pulled-back hair sits for her photograph with her hands lightly held in front of her.

Lydia Hamilton Smith


As the senior member of Stevens’ household staff and his confidante, Smith expertly managed access to one of the country’s most powerful politicians and played a critical role in supporting his career. Despite the prejudice she faced as a mixed-race woman, she became a successful property owner and accomplished businesswoman.

Support the Stevens & Smith Center

Their Legacy,
Our Moment.

Today, we can ensure that the courage and dedication of those who fought for justice in the past will inspire generations to come. Please stand with them, and with LancasterHistory, and make a difference by supporting the campaign for the Thaddeus Stevens & Lydia Hamilton Smith Center for History and Democracy.

A rendering of a meeting space showing a group of people seated in a circle in a discussion.
The Commons
A historical building in downtown Lancaster masked by an ampersand

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