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!
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