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“Definitely worth a visit”
Review of Ford's Theatre

Ford's Theatre
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Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour of Washington DC: Monuments, Landmarks and Memorials
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Half-Day Grand Tour of Washington DC
Ranked #22 of 453 things to do in Washington DC
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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
Reviewed July 24, 2010

Ford's Theater is run in conjunction with the Park Service. You need a ticket to get in, but tickets are free. On the July Friday I went, they had sold out, but you can reserve tickets ahead of time on Ticketmaster (you will have to pay a small serice fee). You can choose from several different options, depending on the time of your entry. I did just a walk-through of the museum and theater (they also have a 1-act play and ranger talks). The museum's in the basement. We had 25 minutes there, which was plenty for the small space. There were interesting exhibits on Lincoln and the assassination. Then we had a brief time to go in the theater itself. You can take pictures and get fairly close to Lincoln's box. Afterward, you can go across the street to tour the boardinghouse where Lincoln was brought after he was shot. I didn't do that part due to time constraints. In all, I spend about an hour there, and it was well worth it.

Thank dephal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,344 - 3,348 of 3,495 reviews

Reviewed July 5, 2010

As a local, I visited the museum soon after it opened and found it extremely well-done. There are a wide range of exhibits ranging from Lincoln's Cabinet (the "Team of Rivals") to artifacts from the conspirators. I spent 90 minutes in the museum on a quiet fall day so that I could see and read everything, but you can get a good overview of most of the exhibits during the 45 minutes allowed on the combination museum/theatre tours.
I had a friend visiting this week who is quite interested in Lincoln, the assassination and the fate of the conspirators. Therefore, I arranged for tickets for the musuem/theatre tour knowing that she would certainly enjoy the museum. Also, based on the various reviews I had read of the ranger talk in the theatre, I thought she would enjoy that as well. As expected, she did enjoy the museum (although I think she could have used more than the allotted 45 minutes there), but we were both extremely disappointed in the ranger presentation in the theatre.
Unfortunately, while our ranger was clearly knowledgeable on the subject of Lincoln's assassination, his presentation was not good. He was clearly uncomfortable speaking in front of a large group and his speaking style was off-putting. He spoke to us as if we were a class of children who had never even heard of Lincoln or John Wilkes Booth before. (Even if some of the visitors were unfamiliar with the story before coming to Ford's Theatre, we had all just spent 45 minutes in the museum learning about it.) I'll admit that I dozed off a few times and I'm sure I wasn't the only one.
I was so disappointed in this presentation since my friend had clearly been looking forward to an interesting, well-told story about Lincoln's assassination. I can only hope that the "powers that be" at Ford's Theatre will give their rangers a bit of training in public speaking and story-telling techniques.
Therefore, while I definitely recommend this attraction for the fine museum, I can only give it a qualified recommendation on the ranger talk. If you get a good ranger, it will probably be worthwhile. If you get a ranger like ours, it will be a waste of time.

1  Thank longhorn74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 4, 2010

I recommend advance tickets off internet if going at a busy time. Good thing we booked because they nearly sold out of all time slots by the time we arrived in D.C. We took the 4p.m. tour which has NO production. We were not interested in the play. So choose your time slot accordingly. First half hour is in their museum, then go into theatre, then cross over the street to see the Peterson house. It was really interesting and eerie to be right next to Lincoln's booth and to be refreshed about this part of history. It was a very moving experience.

Thank park_person
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 18, 2010

This was my first visit since the theater and museum have been refurbished. I like what they have done to both.
Although I believe I saw a review to the contrary, the key relics of the assasination are still on display in the musum (e.g., Booth's pistol, Lincoln's suit).
We were not able to get advance reservations for the museum during the week after Easter (Spring Break), but we attended a matinee showing of "Little Shop of Horrors".
FYI, theater-goers are allowed onto the property one hour before showtime and can visit the museum then, as well as during intermission. Note that the theater show ticket also allows entrance to the Peterson house any time the same day.

Thank global-engineer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 21, 2010

This attraction (like many in DC) is free! Don't waste your time on advance tickets for 1.50 because you still have to wait in line with all the other folks for your tour time. We were in a real crunch for time and wanted to see both the museum and theater. I don't regret seeing both but if you have time issues skip the museum. You are required to stay in the museum portion for 45 minutes until the second part of the tour starts in the theatre. The story in the Theater is exactly what you read in the museum only better! And it's a 20 minute talk. On a side note...go upstairs in the theater for a great view of the room. No one in our group went but me. I got the best photos.

1  Thank roundthaworld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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