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Review of Ford's Theatre

Ford's Theatre
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Washington DC Essential Hop-On Hop-Off plus Bonus Tour
Ranked #22 of 465 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
Reviewed 1 December 2013

I was surprised to learn today (December 1, 2013) that entrance to the Ford Theater, the Museum and the Petersen House is FREE! Reviewing its website yesterday, I read that one has to pay $5.00 (entrance fee) plus $3.75 processing fee for tickets ordered online. I'm glad for this FREEBIE since most museums in Washington, DC are FREE. Note, however, that cash donations dropped at its Collection Box are highly appreciated.

My 11:00 a.m tour included the visit of the Lincoln Museum located at the lower floor of the Theater. Steps are very narrow and might be a challenge to those using canes and wheel chairs.

At the Museum: There was a National Park employee at the museum who welcomed us, but did not make any presentations. We were told to do our own tour and review items on display which include: Videos, Lincoln Family's pictures,Gettysburg address, pictures of Generals of the Civil War, gun that killed Lincoln, time lines of Lincoln and Booth on the fateful day of April 14, 1865, pictures and explanations of those involved in plotting the kidnapping and assassination of Lincoln, plus many more interesting items. FREEBIES = we could take as many pictures as we want. There are no restrictions on taking pictures and using flash bulbs. ( See my attached pictures).

Ford Theater: We proceeded to the Theater after visiting the museum for about 45-50 minutes. Again, we were allowed to take as many pictures as we want at the Theater. Most pictures taken were focused on the Presidential Box where Lincoln was shot.

A National Park Ranger started his talk by reminding us about the story behind the assassination. The deadly Civil War between the North and South States just ended and there were those who were not happy with the defeat of the Confederates/South.

He explained how Booth (as a famous actor) had easy access to various areas of the Ford Theater and knew how to escape after committing his crime. The plan to kidnap Lincoln and other key people turned to assassination after Booth learned that Lincoln would be at the Theater on April 14, 1865. Note that all his collaborators paid for this crime with their lives.

Petersen House: The line was long for the tour of this house where Lincoln died. Only 15 people were allowed to enter the house at a time so the wait seemed long for me. I decided to forgo my tour of this house at this point.

Note that one needs to present the Ford Theater ticket to gain entrance to this house.

Conclusion: Visit the FREE Ford Theater, its museum and the Petersen House when you're in Washington, DC. They are accessible using all lines of the Metro Subway System: Red line (Chinatown or Metro Center Exit), Blue and Orange lines (Metro Center Exit) as well as the Yellow and Green Lines (Chinatown/ Gallery Place). Live the History!

Thank LolaGo1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FordsTheatre, Manager at Ford's Theatre, responded to this reviewResponded 3 December 2013

Thanks for your comments! Tickets to Ford’s Theatre are free, but we charge a small $2.50 convenience fee for tickets reserved in advance. Patrons who would like to reserve an Acoustiguide can do so for $5. During our busy season (March-June), we highly recommend patrons reserve in advance as tickets go quickly. With our renovations in 2009, we were able to increase accessibility to the museum, and we now have elevators for patrons who cannot navigate the stairway. When the line for the Petersen House and our connected Center for Education and Leadership are long, we often suggest patrons return to the house later in the day when the line might be shorter, since their ticket gets them into the house until 5:30 p.m. And on a historical note, a few of the conspirators were able to escape the death penalty: Edman Spangler, Samuel Arnold, Michael O'Laughlin and Dr. Samuel A. Mudd were sentenced to jail; John Surratt fled the country to escape a military trial, eventually being tried in a civil trial that ended in a hung jury.

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Reviewed 30 November 2013

I love national parks and national historical parks and monuments. Ford' Theatre and the Petersen House across the street (the boarding house where Lincoln was taken after he was shot) are jewels in the NP system. If you have limited time to spend in DC, consider a few hours here. The lower level of Ford's Theatre is dedicated to a permanent exhibit about the Civil War, the conspirators, and the Lincoln presidency. Then you move up to the actual balcony and see into the side box where Lincoln was shot. It is strangely moving and sad. Upon exiting the Theatre, your ticket will gain you entry into the restored Petersen Boarding House. This tour is also fascinating. Don't just view the room where Lincoln died, but be sure to take the elevator to the fourth floor of the house and tour the rest of the exhibit. The tower of books which illustrate our fascination with this president will surprise you.

Thank Macbe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 November 2013

Our tour group had a set time to bring 50 8th graders through but we were not allowed into the actual theater because a rehearsal was scheduled at the same time. This is apparently an active theater and if the main section is closed you only get a few minutes in the cramped basement looking at information about Lincoln.

We were disappointed that we could not see the actual theater :(

Thank sp4301
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FordsTheatre, Manager at Ford's Theatre, responded to this reviewResponded 3 December 2013

Thanks for your feedback! We’re so sorry you were unable to see the theatre. To add to your advice about checking in advance, we highly recommend visitors check out our website (www.fords.org) and look at our daily visit schedules to see what programming is available each day.

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Reviewed 25 November 2013

Saw a play about Lincoln and Frederick Douglas which was well acted and so poignant with the box that Lincoln sat in looming above

Thank Terry S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 25 November 2013

This was my second visit in six years and i was pleasantly surprised on the very much better facilities and story telling experience. We went on a not very busy day in December so possibly got longer in the theatre than usual and may think an early visit in high session would be beneficial perhaps

Thank paulmaureenandmolly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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