Located in the downtown area of Washington DC, the Ford's Theatre National Historic Site consists of 4 different parts in 2 separate buildings, that tell the story surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865. There are a few Metro stops that are close by, and close to the National Portrait Gallery and International Spy Museum. And a short walk from the National Mall.
Admission is free to visit all 4, but you will have to pick up a timed ticket to enter all of them, at the box office. Here are the 4 parts of this place...
1. Ford's Theatre Museum - Located downstairs, this is a museum that has displays and artifacts that tell the story of Abraham Lincoln's Presidency, and what was happening in the US during that time. And ending with the assassination in 1865, as there is the display of the actual gun that John Wilkes Booth used to kill the President. While the museum itself is very good, the problem is the space, as it is very cramped, and can be hard to get around some parts. Still, very much worth it, for giving background on what lead up to that tragic day.
2. Ford's Theatre - Located above the museum, this is the place where the assassination took place, and where you can see the balcony seats where Lincoln was shot. Those seats has been preserved, and can only be seen from the lower levels. The theater continues to show plays to this day, so it is more than just an attraction. Seeing where it actually happened, is enough reason to see this place.
3. Petersen House - Located across the street from Ford's Theatre, it is also known as the "House Where Lincoln Died", this was where Lincoln was quickly taken to, after being shot. This is a quick tour of the rooms with period furniture, including the bedroom where Lincoln lied and died on. This has a separate timed entry, which will be announced at Ford's Theatre when the doors will open soon.
4. Center for Education and Leadership - Have to ride an elevator to get there from the Petersen House, this is a museum that gets into the aftermath of Lincoln's assassination, from his funeral to the hunt for John Wilkes Booth and others. As this museum is on multiple floors, it also gets into the lasting legacy that Lincoln left on the world, as he would become a part of pop culture, and a bunch of merchandise being sold. The highlight was the huge tower of books, which you see as you go down the stairs. All of the books were written about Lincoln, which in itself, tells how much of a lasting legacy that he left not only in the US, but for the entire world. This part is very extensive, but I think it serves as a good ending to visiting this site.
While I can see how this site being in 2 separate buildings, can be seen as 2 separate attractions, I put them all in one review, as missing a part would tell an incomplete story about Abraham Lincoln. Basically, I see this entire site as one book, with each part being a separate chapter. Skipping one part would be like skipping a chapter of a book.
And as a whole, the Ford's Theatre National Historic Site is a book that is very much worth reading, from start to finish.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.