Since 2005, visitors to Ford’s Theatre have been able to step back in time with National Park Service volunteer Mike Robinson, who portrays Washington Police Chief A.C. Richards. As “The Chief,” Robinson offers the perspective of a man who both witnessed the Lincoln assassination and then investigated it. Learn about how he originated the role, how he prepared and how visitors react.
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How can a college professor or K-12 teacher work with a public history institution like Ford’s Theatre to teach students about historical research? Learn from a collaboration between Ford’s and St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, that inspired college students and brought underrepresented voices into a digital history exhibition--and see how teachers at all levels can do such projects.
How museum visitors interact with site content is constantly changing. We initially wanted to enhance our museum storytelling in one way, but found other options could be more effective and viable. Learn more about our shift from creating an experience on mobile devices to developing prototypes to test other types of technology.
On a semi-cold Tuesday, Ford’s Theatre staff and evaluator Kate Haley Goldman spent the day on the street between the Petersen House and Ford’s Theatre, asking visitors for their opinions of two on-site prototypes that might enhance the visitor’s understanding of the Lincoln assassination and its aftermath. Read on to see what we learned from that testing.
Since 2000, many visitors to Ford’s Theatre have stepped back in time with National Park Service volunteer Liz Hogan, who portrays First Lady Mary Lincoln and, sometimes, Mary Lincoln’s confidante Elizabeth Dixon. Hogan seeks to counter some of the many pervasive myths about Lincoln’s First Lady. Learn about how Hogan prepared for this historical role and how visitors react.
On December 19, 2017, visitors to the Ford’s campus heard from people who were witnesses to the Lincoln assassination events of 1865. Visitors found four iPads on music stands around the campus featuring audio of our staff members reading first-person accounts from five people from the time. Read about our second round of ideas testing for our latest prototyping project.
"They Knew Lincoln" by John E. Washington’s recounts the complex relationship between Lincoln and Washington’s African-American community. Kate Masur, a professor of history at Northwestern University, facilitated the reissue of the book for the first time since the original run in 1942. This edition includes a new introduction by Masur on John E. Washington and the Washington, D.C., he knew. Here, she offers a preview.
Student groups visiting Ford’s Theatre on the morning of Monday, March 12, 2018, saw some test features in our Museum: Flip doors with questions about Lincoln’s decisions while in office. Learn more about our continuing series of prototyping experiments.
Staff observed reactions to staff-distributed ballots and interactive flip doors in the Ford's Museum on March 12, 2018. Discover our main takeaways from this prototyping experiment.
In our latest prototyping sprint on the Ford’s campus we tested out a concept Ford’s has long-considered: character cards representing historical figures whose stories patrons follow through the exhibit. While the cards were highly successful in terms of engagement, the D.R.A.F.T. team continues to debate what counts as success and whether these cards achieved it.
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