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Ford's Theatre Reopens Museum 7/15 With New Renovations And Exhibits

Ford's Theatre Society and the National Park Service announced that the Ford's Theatre Museum will reopen to the public on July 15, 2009. Located below the newly restored Ford's Theatre (511 10th Street NW), the Museum uses 21st-century technology to transport visitors to 19th-century Washington. The museum's remarkable collection of historic artifacts are supplemented with a variety of narrative devices-environmental recreations, videos and three-dimensional figures, bringing to light Abraham Lincoln's presidency and life in Washington, D.C.

As part of the renovations to the Ford's Theatre site, the building now features elevator access to the 6,868 ft museum space and additional restroom facilities. New exhibits inside the museum showcase Lincoln's arrival in Washington, D.C., by train, the assembly of Lincoln's presidential cabinet, life in the Lincoln White House, Civil War milestones and generals, video features demonstrating Lincoln's role as emancipator and orator and three-dimensional figures of the assassination conspirators. The museum also is home to a host of valuable artifacts including political campaign paraphernalia, a Ford's Theatre playbill, the clothing and boots worn by Abraham Lincoln the night of his assassination, the deringer pistol used by John Wilkes Booth and other weapons and personal items belonging to the assassination conspirators.

Renovations to the Ford's Theatre Museum began in August 2007, when the 144-year old theatre and museum were closed to the public. In October 2007, Ford's Theatre Society announced the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Campaign to support the renovation and expansion of the Ford's Theatre "campus" consisting of the renovated theatre, reimagined museum, the neighboring Petersen House (where President Lincoln died) and the Center for Education and Leadership.

In February 2009, the restored and renovated theatre reopened, featuring new seats, upgraded sound and lighting systems, improved heating and air conditioning systems, renovated restrooms, enhanced accessibility with elevators to the various levels, a spacious new lobby with concessions and an entrance to the theatre, a new Board Room for special events, and updated stage capabilities for casts and crews. The Petersen House has remained open throughout the renovations and will continue to welcome visitors.

The new Center for Education and Leadership will be housed in a building acquired in October 2007 by Ford's Theatre Society at 514 Tenth Street NW, directly across the street from the theatre. Here, students of all ages will be able to explore and celebrate the life and legacy of President Lincoln. Meetings with architects and designers to discuss the plans for the new Center have been initiated and construction is expected to begin in 2010.

"The new Ford's Theatre Museum is designed to engage and educate visitors about Abraham Lincoln's time in Washington-from his arrival by train to the night of his tragic assassination at Ford's Theatre," said Paul Tetreault, Director of the Ford's Theatre Society. "Our hope is that by visiting the Museum and Theatre visitors will uncover the extraordinary legacy that makes Lincoln a leader for the ages."

The Ford's Theatre National Historic Site (composed of the Ford's Theatre Museum, Theatre and Petersen House) is open for daytime visits from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (except December 25). The lobby to the theatre opens at 8:30 a.m. every morning and entry to the site begins at 9 a.m. Final entry into the theatre is 4:30 p.m. and the site closes at 5 p.m.

Patrons may begin their visit by exploring the redesigned museum. Following a visit to the museum, guests enter the theatre for either a walk-through of the space or a 30-minute presentation, given by either the National Park Service or Ford's Theatre Society. After the presentation, visitors exit the building through the main theatre doors and cross the street to the Petersen House. There is no reentry to the theatre or museum after the presentation.

Admission to Ford's Theatre is free but does require a ticket. Advance tickets may be reserved through TicketMaster at or by calling (202) 397-SEAT.

For more information on Ford's Theatre and the Ford's Theatre Society, please visit


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