The Ford's Theatre National Historic Site, including the Museum, Theatre, Petersen House and Center for Education and Leadership, will be closed on the following dates: June 2, 2013 and June 5, 2013.
Ford’s Theatre is America’s most famous theatre, inextricably linked to President Abraham Lincoln and his legacy. As one of the most visited sites in Washington, D.C., Ford’s Theatre annually welcomes nearly one million students, educators and life-long learners who want to see the place where Lincoln was assassinated and examine artifacts from the fateful evening of April 14, 1865.
In 2006, the Board of Trustees approved a plan to embark upon a multi-year capital campaign to initiate a new education program focused on the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln, as well as the American experience during the time of his presidency. The campaign has served to update, expand and enhance Ford’s facilities, making the theatre more audience-friendly and enhancing accessibility. The renovated theatre opened in February of 2009 to rave reviews.
The renovations continued with the Center for Education and Leadership, which broadens the visitor experience with gallery space that examines the aftermath and legacy of Abraham Lincoln and increased educational facilities to offer in-depth programming. The end result is a Ford’s Theatre “campus” along Tenth Street consisting of the theatre, the museum, the Petersen House (where Lincoln died) and the new Center for Education and Leadership.
The New Theatre Experience: A Drama in Four Acts
Now completed, the renovations and expansions of Ford’s Theatre greatly enhance the visitor experience by providing an educational and comprehensive perspective of the theatre’s history, culture and performances. The four-act drama below outlines the new theatre experience:
Visitors will begin their journey in the newly redesigned museum, located in the basement of Ford’s Theatre. Interactive, self-guided exhibits will set the stage for guests by painting a social and political picture of Washington, D.C., and the United States during the 1860s.
Visitors will then move into the theatre itself for a presentation—either a one-act play or a National Park Service ranger talk—that illuminates the dramatic events of April 1865.
The journey will continue across the street at the Petersen House, where visitors will learn more about President Lincoln’s final hours, the vigil at his deathbed and the subsequent hunt for his assassin.
Visitors will conclude their journey in the Center for Education and Leadership, a new facility at 514 Tenth Street. The Center, adjacent to the Petersen House, will feature exhibitions and interactive displays that explore Lincoln’s life and legacy, as well as the lasting effect his presidency and its untimely end have had on citizens of every nation.
Breaking New Ground: Facility Enhancements
Together, the Ford’s Theatre Tenth Street facilities and “virtual campus” will offer:
- An upgraded and enhanced museum experience
- A rich collection of artifacts and resources relating to the life and legacy of President Lincoln
- Additional opportunities for families and school groups to explore Lincoln’s legacy through a variety of creative workshops
- Experiential learning centered on Abraham Lincoln, his presidency and the Civil War era
- Special materials and opportunities for educators to explore President Lincoln’s unparalleled leadership and vision
- Lectures hosted by scholars from the Ford’s Theatre Advisory Council
“Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in.”
— President Abraham Lincoln