Working with a Ford’s Teaching Artist, students bring Lincoln’s words to life through a group performance.

Offered for grades 3-8, the Ford’s oratory residency and festival program enables students to experience how the power of public speaking can communicate ideas and inspire others. Classrooms study speeches by Abraham Lincoln and work with a Ford’s Teaching Artist over a series of classroom visits to stage performances of the speeches. Throughout the program, students expand their vocabulary, develop public-speaking skills and build confidence as they bring Lincoln’s historic words to life. The program culminates with students sharing their work. 

Local Residency and Festival

For classes in the D.C. area

Up to 20 classes in the D.C.-metro area participate in the local festival, with five school visits from a Teaching Artist and a performance on the Ford’s stage. Festival performance dates take place in early February.

“Thank you for the great experience of … get[ting us] on stage to get our jitters out and boost our confidence. You also boosted my speaking skills by not being afraid to be in front of a big crowd.”

- Brandon, Fifth Grader, Brent Elementary, 2016

Other Oratory Festivals

Lincoln Online Oratory Project

For classes around the country and the world

Any class can participate. The first 10 classes to apply will get three free virtual visits with a Teaching Artist. Share and comment on one another’s speeches via YouTube.