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“Worth Your Time”
Review of Ford's Theatre

Ford's Theatre
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Private Half Day Narrated Washington DC Tour
Ranked #23 of 442 things to do in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: The site of the April 14, 1865, assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, Ford's Theatre is a working theatre, historical monument, world-class museum and learning center. The theatre produces musicals and plays reflecting the unique, diverse character of American life. With its inspiring theatrical productions, live historic interpretation, and rich collection of artifacts, Ford’s Theatre is the premier destination in the nation’s capital to explore and celebrate the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln. A daytime visit to the Ford’s campus traces the story of Lincoln’s presidency, assassination and legacy. The campus includes the museum, theatre, Petersen House (the house where Lincoln died) and the new Center for Education and Leadership. Tickets are required. Admission is free; advance tickets have a convenience fee.In the evenings and on weekends, Ford’s presents dynamic productions of renowned plays, vibrant musicals, and newly commissioned works that captivate and entertain while examining political and social issues related to Lincoln’s legacy.In the spring and summer, Ford’s produces one-act plays and walking tours exploring Civil War Washington. These immersive experiences provide an authentic glimpse into a singular and transformative moment of America’s past.Throughout the year, Ford’s provides engaging educational programs for students, teachers and life-long learners, using Lincoln’s speeches and legacy to build speech, writing and leadership skills.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Bucks County, PA
Level Contributor
138 reviews
90 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Worth Your Time”
Reviewed 10 January 2013

Just to look up and see where our President was shot was really paralyzing. The tour guide was very interesting and knowledgable. I highly recommend doing/seeing Ford Theater.

Visited December 2012
Thank AllyBeeds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Northern Virginia
Level Contributor
76 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Interesting for all Ages”
Reviewed 9 January 2013

Small group of ESOL students, their families, and my two elementary-school grandchildren visited Ford's Theatre, the Museum, Peterson House and the Lincoln Center for Education & Leadership. Our group spent about 4.5 hours here, not including the time we spent having lunch nearby.

Before you visit, go online to http://www.fordstheatre.org/ to see which areas are open on the day you want to visit. The schedule lists the times and events for each of the components. This web site also has an excellent guide for getting to Ford's Theatre via Metro.

Go first to the Theater box office and get your free ticket for entrance to the components of this National Historic Site, which is maintained by the US Park Service. ASK FOR THE "FULL EXPERIENCE" PACKAGE. Without this type of ticket, you will not gain access into the museum, located beneath the Theater. Children can also obtain a free Junior Ranger booklet - upon completion, kids can take the book back to the box office and get a certificate and a Junior Ranger Badge. I encourage my adult English-learning adults to also complete the booklet and get the reward!

The MUSEUM has some wonderful exhibits to illustrate an overview of the conspiracy to kill Lincoln that resulted in his assassination on April 14, 1865. Be sure to look for the exhibit of Booth's derringer, the actual murder weapon. Also on view are the original clothing worn by President Lincoln (except for his hat) and Major Henry Rathbone, also in the box and wounded at the time of the assissination. Two "life masks" of the President are also displayed, but not together. We spent about 1.5 hours here, and we didn't see everything. Bathrooms are located in the Museum.

Sit in the balcony when you go up into the Theatre from the Museum. (Tickets are timed.) A costumed volunteer provides a 20 - 30 minute talk about the Theatre, Booth and the logistics of the assassination. Our group was permitted to stand in the doorway to the presidential box and look inside. We were standing right where Booth stood to shoot the President! Access depends on how crowded the building is. We were in the Theatre for about an hour.

Cross the street to the Peterson House, where Lincoln died the day after he was shot. (Your ticket from the box office is required!) The furnishings are not original here. If it isn't crowded, ask one of the Rangers on duty about the Peterson family. Continue through the Peterson House for interactive exhibits about the many funerals held for the President, original rope from the hanging of four of the conspirators, displays about the manhunt for Booth and his death, and information about the national mood in the aftermath of America's first presidential assassination. We spent about 1.5 hours here; the interactive displays were very popular with our group.

Access the Center for Education & Leadership from Peterson House on the uppermost level. Because we watched every video and looked at every display, we spent about 1.5 hours here. Very interesting, especially about the progress of the Civil Rights Movement in the 20th century.

Our group went to lunch before we entered Peterson House. The children in the group all wanted burgers, so we went to Lincoln's Waffles across the street. Other, more grownup cafes and restaurants are nearby.

We recommend most of a day to adequately see everything that's here and to fully understand the history. I was born in DC, lived nearby most of my life, and I learned a lot on this visit. Some of the exhibits provoked lively discussions among the adults in our group during our return trip on Metro.

Visited January 2013
Thank LovesHippos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
179 reviews
81 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
“A Lovely Theatre With First Class Performances”
Reviewed 8 January 2013

My family and I have been lucky enough to see several performances here. The theatre is lovely and very well maintained. Do visit !

Visited December 2012
Thank Zena36
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Athens, Ga
Level Contributor
57 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
“Great History Lesson on President Lincoln's Assination”
Reviewed 5 January 2013

I highly recommend a visit to Ford's Theatre. You need to get a free ticket when you arrive and tours seem to start each 30 minutes. Our NPS guide gave a very interesting and informative description of what happened that night at the theatre. Once the tour of the the theatre is complete you get to tour the building across the street where President Lincoln was taken after being shot. One of the better sights we saw in DC and our 9 and 12 year old children enjoyed the history lesson and are interested to learn more about President Lincoln.

Visited December 2012
3 Thank AthensGator
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pasco, Washington
Level Contributor
90 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Tickets Are Free But you Need One”
Reviewed 3 January 2013

You need to get tickets for Ford's Theater, they are free and you can use the will-call window to get them or call ahead with a specific time at: (202) 347-4833.

We did the tour in about 45 minutes. You could take longer but basically we wanted to 1.) see the theater, 2.) see the box where Lincoln was shot.

There is an exhibit in the basement that you can browse but it is just reader boards with a bit of audio. If you know about Lincoln and his assassination, you could choose to skip it.

The box where Lincoln was shot is only open to the public (viewed through plexiglass) if there are less than a hundred visitors in the building at the time.

Your free ticket gives you access to the house across the street where Lincoln was taken after he was shot. Again, if you know the whole story well, a quick look at the room where Mary Lincoln sat, where Lincoln himself lay, and you are good to go.

Visited January 2013
1 Thank pinkpepper9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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