Ford's Theatre was the setting of the fateful night of April 14, 1865, when, during a scene of Our American Cousin, John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln while the president sat in his box with his wife and two guests. Lincoln was carried to the home of William Petersen across 10th Street and pronounced dead the next morning. Booth was captured ten days later in a Maryland barn.
Operated through a joint partnership between the National Park Service and Ford's Theatre Society, the Ford's Theatre National Historic Site is the premier destination in the nation's capital for all audiences to learn about Abraham Lincoln, our country's history and its relationship to the America of today.
Composed of the Ford's Theatre Museum, Theatre, Petersen House and Center for Education and Leadership, Ford's Theatre is open for daytime visits and is also a working theatre.
Each year, the Society presents renowned plays, vibrant musicals, and newly commissioned works that examine important political and social issues related to the Lincoln legacy and explore the diversity of the American experience. From May through October, the Society also presents History on Foot, walking tours of downtown D.C. that bring Civil War Washington to life.
The Ford's Theatre Museum features exhibits that showcase Lincoln's arrival in Washington, D.C., by train, the assembly of Lincoln's presidential cabinet, life in the Lincoln White House, Civil War milestones and generals, video features demonstrating Lincoln's role as emancipator and orator and three-dimensional figures of the assassination conspirators. The museum also is home to a host of valuable artifacts including political campaign paraphernalia, a Ford's Theatre playbill, the clothing and boots worn by Abraham Lincoln the night of his assassination, the deringer pistol used by John Wilkes Booth and other weapons and personal items belonging to the assassination conspirators.
Patrons may begin their visit by exploring the redesigned museum. Following a visit to the museum, guests enter the theatre for either a walk-through of the space or a 30-minute presentation, given by either the National Park Service or Ford's Theatre Society. After the presentation, visitors exit the building through the main theatre doors and cross the street to the Petersen House (The House Where Lincoln Died).
After leaving the Petersen House, visitors enter the new Center for Education and Leadership. Featuring permanent and rotating exhibits, the Center explores the aftermath of Lincoln's assassination and the impact of his legacy on our country today.
For information on theatrical programming and an up-to-date visitor schedule, please visit www.fords.org