Ford’s Theater

Speaking of assassinations, the other week my super amazing girlfriend and her super amazing mother and I went to Ford’s Theater. It was a fairly interesting place!

My super amazing girlfriend had gotten us timed tickets for 11:30, so after a leisurely morning we showed up, picked up our audio guide, and entered the theater. Unbeknownst to us (probably just me?) the place has a whole museum in the basement. I thought it was just going to be the theater. But you enter through the ticket line and then head down some stairs and there is a whole floor of exhibits about Lincoln’s presidency. I thought it did a pretty good job of detailing stuff, not that I know a whole lot more than the average bear about Lincoln’s presidency. There were a fair number of amusing anecdotes and the biggest takeaway for me is that I want to pick up a biography of Grant at some point.

The museum had a number of interesting things. The photo at the top is a statue of Lincoln they had, and I guess I didn’t get the memos about leaving pennies. I think this is so Lincoln can gaze upon his severed head? Not sure. At the very start of the museum, which starts (chronologically) with Lincoln entering DC for his inauguration, they had a set of brass knuckles, a knife, and some goggles that were offered to him for his protection:

He turned them down but he should have accepted them. Everybody already agrees Lincoln is a badass with an axe, so why not brass knuckles too? Real missed opportunity there. On a more solemn note, they also of course have the pistol that Booth used to kill Lincoln:

Ford’s Theater is still (or actually once again) a working theater, and apparently there was a play that day, so the museum was closing early. This hustled us through the rest of the museum and upstairs to the theater itself, where a very upbeat National Park ranger was answering the same questions I am sure they get 1000 times a day. You can go over and see the box where Booth shot Lincoln, which has the furniture from that night. You can also look up at the box from below, to get the same perspective everyone else had:

And uh, yeah. Then we went to the gift shop, which did have a lapel pin. This is a very short post and I am sorry, I don’t have a lot to say about Lincoln because man a lot has been said about him. Ford’s Theater is a very good museum and lets you see the spot where an act was carried out which killed a very mortal man but which had such a monumental effect on American history it starts to make you reconsider the Great Man theory. Then you can wander over to see the Chinese restaurant where they conspired to enact such a despicable deed.