Get Involved: Ask our Staff Experts About Lincoln

One of the great perks of working at Ford’s Theatre is that whenever you may have a pressing question about Abraham Lincoln, you only need to turn around and ask a coworker in order to receive an answer. No matter how obscure or how silly the question, there is always someone nearby who knows more about the topic.

In honor of Lincoln’s birthday, this year we’re bringing the expertise of some of our most knowledgeable staff members straight to you. From 10:00 a.m. ET on Monday, February 9, 2015, through 6:00 p.m. Friday, February 13, 2015, just tweet us your questions on Lincoln, the Civil War and the history of Ford’s Theatre using the hashtag #LincolnQ. If you have a burning question but no Twitter account, never fear! Just ask us your question in the comments below.

As you send your #LincolnQ question into the Twittersphere, one of the following friendly faces will respond! All responders will “sign” their tweets with their initials.

Alicia Brooks (-AB)

Manager, Special Events

What do you do at Ford’s?

I assist in the planning of all kinds of awesome events at the theatre, from opening night performances and member events to our Annual Gala. I’m usually the one holding the clipboard!

What kinds of #LincolnQ would you like to answer?           

I like the anecdotal moments of the history the best. People should ask me about Lincoln’s favorite plays, how Tad Lincoln interrupted cabinet meetings, how Booth’s brother saved Robert Todd Lincoln’s life or the fact that it was almost impossible for President Lincoln not to tell stories regardless of the time or place—the moments that made them seem like regular people.

Alex Wood (-AW)

Educations Programs Coordinator

What do you do at Ford’s?

I support all our museum and theatre programs for students and teachers, including field trips to the historic site, student matinees, mainstage production workshops for teachers and the summer professional development programs. I coordinate our distance-learning initiatives, videoconferencing programs with schools and adult learners, and our upcoming Virtual Field Trip. I also contribute to the Ford’s Blog creating context about our productions and the worlds in which they take place.

What kinds of #LincolnQ would you like to answer?           

I love talking about Ford’s Theatre itself. The building has been through so much over the last 150 years and has such stories to tell!

  

David McKenzie (-DM)

Digital Projects Manager

What do you do at Ford’s?

I’m responsible for creating and managing our historical resources online. I’m the project manager for our Remembering Lincoln digital collection, blog frequently about historical topics, pitch in on education programs—especially our NEH Seat of War and Peace summer teacher workshops—and am coordinating our involvement with Google Cultural Institute.

What kinds of #LincolnQ would you like to answer?           

I’m interested in how Ford’s Theatre, the Civil War and Lincoln are remembered. The international context of the Civil War also really fascinates me—there’s a lot of new work lately about just how important this event was not just as the defining event of our country’s history but one of the most significant in world history. I’m also really interested in Lincoln’s plans for Reconstruction, and how things might have been different had he not been assassinated.

Heather Hoagland (-HH)

Museum Assistant

What do you do at Ford’s?

I work primarily in the exhibitions in the Center for Education and Leadership, overseeing maintenance and issues in the galleries. We’re in the middle of planning for the commemorative Ford’s 150 exhibition, Silent Witnesses: Artifacts of the Lincoln Assassination, that will bring together iconic objects that were part of history on April 14, 1865. I’m coordinating the loans and transportation for artifacts, including Lincoln’s top hat (from the Smithsonian American History Museum) and Mary Lincoln’s cloak (from Chicago History Museum), and overseeing the production of the accompanying exhibition book.

What kinds of #LincolnQ would you like to answer?           

I’ve had a great time spending the last year immersing myself in the history of Lincoln and Ford’s Theatre, and now I turn into a fountain of Lincoln trivia at cocktail parties. In preparing for opening Silent Witnesses in March, I have absorbed the details of the Lincoln assassination, and I think I’m ready to field any questions about the details of that night!

Kate Langsdorf (-KL)

Education Programs Manager

What do you do at Ford’s?

I help audiences, especially students and teachers, have a meaningful experience at our performances by managing workshops, dramaturgy and other resources. I also manage our distance-learning programs, which bring the story of President Lincoln’s assassination and his lasting legacy into schools, libraries and senior centers throughout the nation.

What kinds of #LincolnQ would you like to answer?           

I know quite a bit about Mary Lincoln, the assassination conspiracy and Washington life during the Civil War.

Rae Davidson (-RD)

Corporate Relations Coordinator

What do you do at Ford’s?

I am the Corporate Relations Coordinator at Ford’s Theatre, where I manage stewardship and communications for our corporate giving program.

What kinds of #LincolnQ would you like to answer?           

I’m interested in President Lincoln’s leadership style—his relationship with Congress and the administration, his ability to gauge public opinion, and his decisions on when to enact policy changes. I also am fascinated by his ability to put personal differences aside, even when dealing with ambitious cabinet members and slow-moving generals.

Sarah Jencks (-SJ)

Director of Education Programming

What do you do at Ford’s?

I oversee the Ford’s Theatre education programs including field trips, teacher professional development and our oratory festival. I also work with our staff to develop online educational resources, including the upcoming Remembering Lincoln project.

What kinds of #LincolnQ would you like to answer?

I find the people of the Civil War most interesting. I’m curious about their motivations and how they managed to live through such difficult times. I think a lot about Abraham Lincoln’s leadership and about what life was like in Civil War Washington.

Tracey Avant (-TA)

Curator of Exhibits

What do you do at Ford’s?

I oversee all museum-related activities for Ford’s Theatre Society, and I am responsible for the creation of the Society’s changing special exhibitions program.

What kinds of #LincolnQ would you like to answer?           

Any questions about the history of the theatre and people related to the theatre, aspects of Lincoln’s legacy and memorializations, how America and the world responded to Lincoln’s assassination, and how world leaders have looked to Lincoln’s writings and example as inspiration in their own lives.

 

These enthusiastic and knowledgeable staffers are excited to answer your questions! Feel free to help get us started by adding your questions in the comments of this post—we’ll send them on to the staff members manning the Twitter discussion.

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Author Bio

Sara Cohen is Marketing Manager at Ford’s Theatre, where she helms the Ford’s Theatre Facebook and Twitter accounts, amongst other projects that share Lincoln’s legacy with the world.