Ford’s Theatre

The site of the April 14, 1865, assassination of President Lincoln, Ford’s Theatre holds a unique place in United States history. The theatre has enthralled millions of visitors since its reopening in 1968, and it is one of the most visited sites in the nation’s capital.

Ford’s Theatre’s celebrates the legacy of Abraham Lincoln and to explore the American experience through theatre and education. The Ford’s Theatre Society works to present the Theatre’s nearly one million visitors each year with a high quality historic and cultural experience. Its work is what makes this vibrant historic site an important tool for promoting the ideals of leadership, humanity and wisdom espoused by Abraham Lincoln.
With works from the nationally acclaimed Big River to the world premieres of Meet John Doe and The Heavens Are Hung In Black, Ford’s Theatre is making its mark on the American theatre landscape.  Within the near future, Ford’s Theatre will also be recognized as a major center for learning, where people of all ages can examine the events of that fateful evening in 1865 and experience the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln.

Since its reopening in 1968, Ford’s Theatre has presented plays and musicals celebrating the legacy of Abraham Lincoln and exploring the American experience. With works from the nationally acclaimed Big River to the world premieres of Liberty Smith, The Heavens Are Hung in Black and Meet John Doe, Ford’s Theatre is making its mark on the American theatre landscape. For it’s accomplishments, Ford’s Theatre was honored in 2008 with the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given by the U.S. government to artists, art institutions and arts patrons.

In 1849, William A. Petersen, a German tailor, constructed the plain red brick three-story and basement townhouse across the street from Ford’s Theatre. After the shooting President Lincoln was carried to the house and tended in a back bedroom until his death hours later.

Since acquiring the house (now 516 10th Street) in 1933, the National Park Service has maintained it as a historic house museum, recreating the scene at the time of Lincoln’s death. Here, visitors can learn more about that fateful night and the people who surrounded the President in his final hours.

The Petersen House, operated by the National Park Service, is open daily (except December 25) from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. On September 26, 2010, the National Park Service (NPS) will begin a major rehabilitative project on the Petersen House (the House where President Lincoln Died), resulting in a temporary closure of the house. During this closure, patrons will not be able to visit the house. For more information, click here.

Admission is free but does require a ticket. Every visitor two years of age and older wishing to enter the Petersen House must present a timed entry ticket, this will be the same ticket presented to enter the theatre. In the event the theatre is not available for tours, tickets are still required to enter the Petersen House. For more information on arranging a ticket, click here.