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“Pleasantly surprised” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Ford's Theatre

Ford's Theatre
511 10th St NW, Washington DC, DC 20004 (Downtown / Chinatown)
202 347-4833
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Top Rated
$39*
and up
Washington DC Hop-on Hop-off Trolley Tour
Ranked #28 of 484 things to do in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence
Activities: Group tours/walking tour
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Attraction details
Owner description: The site of the April 14, 1865, assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, Ford's Theatre is a working theatre, historical monument, world-class museum and learning center. The theatre produces musicals and plays reflecting the unique, diverse character of American life. With its inspiring theatrical productions, live historic interpretation, and rich collection of artifacts, Ford’s Theatre is the premier destination in the nation’s capital to explore and celebrate the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln. A daytime visit to the Ford’s campus traces the story of Lincoln’s presidency, assassination and legacy. The campus includes the museum, theatre, Petersen House (the house where Lincoln died) and the new Center for Education and Leadership. Tickets are required. Admission is free; advance tickets have a convenience fee.In the evenings and on weekends, Ford’s presents dynamic productions of renowned plays, vibrant musicals, and newly commissioned works that captivate and entertain while examining political and social issues related to Lincoln’s legacy.In the spring and summer, Ford’s produces one-act plays and walking tours exploring Civil War Washington. These immersive experiences provide an authentic glimpse into a singular and transformative moment of America’s past.Throughout the year, Ford’s provides engaging educational programs for students, teachers and life-long learners, using Lincoln’s speeches and legacy to build speech, writing and leadership skills.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
52 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Pleasantly surprised”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2012

I wasn't sure what to expect but I thought I would be disappointed. I was wrong. Ford's Theater offers a great museum and tour dedicated to the theater's history and President Lincoln. The tour also includes entrance to the house where Lincoln died. I suggest getting tickets early because it does get crowded.

Visited July 2011
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Shelburne, New Hampshire
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35 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Step back in time”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2012

What a way to bring life to history. See the booth (from a distance) where Lincold was shot as you listen to the story of the night Lincol was shot. Make sure to go across the street to the house where he was taken and later died.

Visited March 2012
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Stamford, CT
Level Contributor
117 reviews
64 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
“Spend the $ and buy tickets in advance!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2012

Tickets are free--if you are very flexible with your schedule. This is a timed-entry site. I bought the tickets via ticketmaster (three of us=$14.50 including fees) ahead of time. Good thing too, because there was a lot of people and people wanting tickets were out luck (at 11am the next available entry was after 2pm). Also, there are certain parts available at certain times--ranger lead tours vs museum entries vs theater entries. Check their website first to determine whats offered at what time on a particular day.

Many people say you feel rushed because it is a timed site. However, no one was really telling us to leave one area when we weren't done. We just weren't allowed to advance to the next spot until a certain time. There is a lot to read and see in the museum part, despite its small size. But honestly, I found this part a little boring. The Museum of American History has a Lincoln exhibit I found more interesting and more things to look at.

In the theater, you can walk amongst the seats only and look up at the stage and box where Lincoln was shot. That's a little surreal. Across the street is where Lincoln was carried to and died. The only thing in there that's "real" is the foundation--props, furniture, wall coverings are all "new." The bed in the bedroom is NOT where he died either. So, this didn't really "hit home." Adjoining to the house/continuing the tour is more Lincoln stuff. The three floors it encompasses is very dark so some people will have a hard time seeing things.
Overall, if you do to DC, this is a "must see" site.

Visited March 2012
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Redding, California
Level Contributor
33 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Cheesy but interesting”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2012

The redo of the theater is impressive. The new museum downstairs less so. By museum standards, it was mediocre. There is a lot of information but no cohesive story. The displays are in a style that is already dated. It is tiny and you have to inch your way along reading every word. The Park Service Ranger who gave the talk in the theater was what made it cheesy. It is a good thing the admission is free.

Visited March 2012
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Springfield
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 attraction reviews
“Overrated”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2012

Ford's Theatre is something that I always thought was a "must see" in DC, but quickly learned it is overrated. There is a great ranger talk you can go to and the museum is great, but you learn in the talk that Ford's Theatre isn't even the real one that Lincoln was shot in. After he died, they tore out the inside, made it an office building and only decided to redo it 100 years later. It's still cool to see, but to know that it is ALL replicated kind of takes away from the history and story.

Still a cool place to see, but I'm not sure it's worth the $10 we spent.

Visited March 2012
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