The Ford’s Theatre Museum combines a remarkable collection of historic artifacts with a variety of interactive exhibits to tell the story of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency. Using environmental recreations, videos and three-dimensional figures, the museum transports visitors to 19th-century Washington, where they can follow Lincoln from his arrival in Washington in 1861.
Exhibits explore Lincoln’s Presidential cabinet, what life was like in the Lincoln White House, various Civil War milestones and generals, Lincoln’s great speeches and the Assassination conspiracy.
The collection of artifacts includes the deringer that John Wilkes Booth used, as well as the clothing President Lincoln wore the night he was shot.
Click here for information on visiting Ford’s Theatre.
by Richard Norton Smith
At first glance—and second, and third—it is hard to reconcile the puny dimensions of this vest pocket instrument of vengeance with the still reverberating historical consequences of its use.
The night Lincoln was assassinated, he attended Ford’s Theatre wearing the frock coat, waistcoat, trousers, tie and boots pictured here.
Lincoln Life Masks
by Harold Holzer
Two extraordinary life masks—made but five years apart—record with painful precision the grueling physical toll the Civil War exacted on Abraham Lincoln.
Life in the White House
by Catherine Clinton
As the couple, like so many others, prepared for their evening out together, their home was filled with the sounds of their son Tad playing with his toy sword.
A Wartime Election
by Jay Winik
To wade into Lincoln's 1864 wartime election is to get not only a deeply intimate understanding of the deathly wariness that had settled over him by then, but to truly grasp the essence of his qualities as a leader.
Our American Cousin
by Allen C. Guelzo
John T. Ford’s theatre on 10th Street was in its second season when the English actress and producer, Laura Keene (1826-1873), opened a two-week engagement with Ford’s stock company that would conclude with a production of the British hit comedy Our American Cousin.
John Wilkes Booth’s Diary
by James Swanson
Booth’s escape journal offers an unparalleled window into the assassin’s mind. Into this pocket date book, Booth inscribed for all time his deepest emotions.
John Wilkes Booth’s Compass
by James Swanson
John Wilkes Booth’s pocket compass is more evocative of his desperate, 12-day flight from the manhunt than any other relic that survived him. This is the compass that guided him during his dangerous days on the run
The Baltimore Plot
On February 11, 1861, President-elect Abraham Lincoln departed his hometown of Springfield, Illinois, for a 12-day rail journey to Washington. As he reached Philadelphia, Lincoln heard rumors of a plot to murder him when his train arrived in Baltimore.
John Wilkes Booth's assassination of President Lincoln was part of a larger plot that included two other men, George Atzerodt and Lewis Powell.
After shooting President Lincoln, Booth leapt from the presidential box to the stage. Posing in front of the confused audience he yelled “Sic Semper Tyrannis! (So perish all tyrants!)”
Booth’s Broken Leg
Booth arrived at Dr. Samuel Mudd’s house in need of medical care for an injured leg. Mudd cut the boot and removed it from Booth’s swollen ankle.
Sanitary Commission Quilt
Constructed to raise money for the Sanitary Commission, this quilt was signed by 56 famous politicians, Northern generals and other public figures during the Civil War period.