Ford's Theatre National Historic Site

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511 10th Street Northwest, Washington, DC, USA
www.fords.org/splash - (202) 347-4833

Ford's Theatre National Historic Site Washington Reviews

WalterC WalterC
389 reviews
All chapters of this book is worth checking! Jul 14, 2016
Located in the downtown area of Washington DC, the Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site consists of 4 different parts in 2 separate buildings, that tell the story surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865. There are a few Metro stops that are close by, and close to the National Portrait Gallery and International Spy Museum. And a short walk from the National Mall.

Admission is free to visit all 4, but you will have to pick up a timed ticket to enter all of them, at the box office. Here are the 4 parts of this place…

1. Ford’s Theatre Museum – Located downstairs, this is a museum that has displays and artifacts that tell the story of Abraham Lincoln’s Presidency, and what was happening in the US during that time. And ending with the assassination in 1865, as there is the display of the actual gun that John Wilkes Booth used to kill the President. While the museum itself is very good, the problem is the space, as it is very cramped, and can be hard to get around some parts. Still, very much worth it, for giving background on what lead up to that tragic day.

2. Ford’s Theatre – Located above the museum, this is the place where the assassination took place, and where you can see the balcony seats where Lincoln was shot. Those seats has been preserved, and can only be seen from the lower levels. The theater continues to show plays to this day, so it is more than just an attraction. Seeing where it actually happened, is enough reason to see this place.

3. Petersen House – Located across the street from Ford’s Theatre, it is also known as the “House Where Lincoln Died”, this was where Lincoln was quickly taken to, after being shot. This is a quick tour of the rooms with period furniture, including the bedroom where Lincoln lied and died on. This has a separate timed entry, which will be announced at Ford’s Theatre when the doors will open soon.

4. Center for Education and Leadership – Have to ride an elevator to get there from the Petersen House, this is a museum that gets into the aftermath of Lincoln’s assassination, from his funeral to the hunt for John Wilkes Booth and others. As this museum is on multiple floors, it also gets into the lasting legacy that Lincoln left on the world, as he would become a part of pop culture, and a bunch of merchandise being sold. The highlight was the huge tower of books, which you see as you go down the stairs. All of the books were written about Lincoln, which in itself, tells how much of a lasting legacy that he left not only in the US, but for the entire world. This part is very extensive, but I think it serves as a good ending to visiting this site.

While I can see how this site being in 2 separate buildings, can be seen as 2 separate attractions, I put them all in one review, as missing a part would tell an incomplete story about Abraham Lincoln. Basically, I see this entire site as one book, with each part being a separate chapter. Skipping one part would be like skipping a chapter of a book.

And as a whole, the Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site is a book that is very much worth reading, from start to finish.
Ford's Theatre
statues of office seekers
1864 Sanitary Fair quilt, signed b…
photos of the Lincoln family
6 / 6 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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Chokk says:
Congrats on your feature :D
Posted on: Aug 19, 2016
cotton_foam says:
Congrats, Walter on your featured review!
Pity, didn't visit this place!
Posted on: Aug 18, 2016
Suusj says:
Congrats on your feature :).
Posted on: Aug 18, 2016
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spocklogic spocklog…
325 reviews
The Theatre Where Lincoln Was Shot Aug 14, 2015
On the evening of April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was shot in the back of the head while viewing a play at Ford’s Theatre. The assassin, John Wilkes Booth, then stabbed an army officer who had rushed at him and leapt to the stage below where he shouted to the crowd, “Sic temper Tyrannis!”, latin for “Thus always to tyrants”, which is also the state motto of Virginia. At first the crowd thought it was part of the play, but subsequent screams told them otherwise. Despite breaking his leg in the jump from the President’s box to the stage, he managed to escape. Such were the events on that fateful evening in 1865 that transpired at Ford’s Theatre.

Ford’s Theatre was built by a theatrical entrepreneur named John T. Ford in 1863. The theatre closed after the assassination of Lincoln and and remained closed during the investigation and trial of the conspirators. After the trial, sentencing and execution of the conspirators, Ford was given permission to reopen the theatre, but he received threats that the place would be burned down if it reopened again, so it was closed again and then leased by the government for construction of an office building. The entire interior was torn down and removed being replaced with 3 stories of office space. The government purchased the theatre from Ford in 1866. It served as government office space until 1893, when a section of the 3 interior floors collapsed, killing 22 clerks. It was repaired and became a government office again and was also used as a warehouse.

On the 123rd anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, the Lincoln Museum opened on the 1st floor in 1932. The following year it was turned over to the U.S. National Park Service, under whose care it has remained since then. Most of the theatre is a historically accurate reconstruction which took place in the 1960’s. Some items are original: a sofa, chair and the George Washington engraving hanging on the President’s box. The restored museum and theatre opened to the public in 1968. It had some additional restoration work done in 2000.

The lower stage and 1st upper balcony are open to the public. There are presentations during the day by a National Park Ranger, who tells the story of the theatre and Lincoln's assassination from the stage area of the theatre. It's and informative and entertaining presentation. The museum dedicated to Lincoln's life is on the lower floor and the theatre area covers the upper levels of the building. As a historical building with the theatre reconstructed in careful detail, it is quite worth seeing. I understand from the Ranger presentation, however, that the seating itself it merely for modern comfort and the original seats were wooden and spaced much closer together. That’s ok with me! Don’t forget to see the Lincoln Museum here too on the lower level. It's free to get into the museum as it is a National Historic site run by the U.S. National Park Service, and on the same ticket you can visit “The House Where Lincoln Died” across the street.
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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spocklogic says:
Thanks, Silvia! Aside from seeing the theater itself, the National Parks Ranger give a good presentation.
Posted on: Sep 06, 2016
sylviandavid says:
Enjoyed your review ..... we went there and loved it. sylvia
Posted on: Aug 14, 2016
camwilde camwilde
163 reviews
Ford's Theatre National Historic Site Dec 06, 2010
Ford's Theatre is the place where Abraham Lincoln was famously shot and then taken across the street where he died. To visit the theatre, you have to get timed tickets (free) where you can take an audio tour of the museum and the theatre. In the museum, you learn about the events that led up to the assassination and the characters involved.

The theatre is still in use today and you can actually go see some plays there. We didn't have the opportunity to do this, but would have loved to.

This theatre has both historical value as well as current usage and I would recommend a visit if you would like to learn more about the events surrounding the death of Lincoln.
"Meeting" Abraham Lincoln during a…
Roaming around the theatre
Roaming around the theatre
Where Abraham Lincoln was shot
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