150th Commemoration of Lincoln's Assassination

The Derringer Pistol that fired the shot that killed Abraham Lincoln.
The Derringer Pistol that fired the shot that killed Abraham Lincoln.

NPSPhoto; Carol Highsmith

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News Release Date: March 18, 2015

Contact: Mike Litterst , 202-245-4676

Contact: Lauren Beyea, 202-434-9543

Washington –Director of Ford's Theatre Society Paul R. Tetreault and Acting Superintendent of National Mall and Memorial Parks Karen Cucurullo announced the commemorative programming planned forFord's 150: Remembering the Lincoln Assassination, events marking 150 years since the assassination of Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theatre on April 14, 1865.

Programming spans January through May 2015 and includes: the world-premiere play The Widow Lincoln; the musical Freedom's Song: Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War a jewel box exhibition at the Center for Education and Leadership, Silent Witnesses: Artifacts of the Lincoln Assassination, that showcases items that Lincoln carried or that were inFord's Theatre the night of his assassination; Second Inaugural Address Commemoration Ceremony at The Lincoln Memorial on March 7;aVirtual Field Trip of the historic site with Discovery Education on March 26; The Lincoln Tribute,an around-the-clock event on April 14 and 15marking Lincoln's assassination and death; an overnight candlelight vigil on Tenth Street NW, incorporating living historians to recreate the street scene and atmosphere from April 14 and 15, 1865; guided and self-led tours of the full Ford's Theatre campus on April 14 and 15;performances of the Society's one-act plays One Destiny and The Road From AppomattoxHistory on Foot walking toursfree panel discussions featuring historians and scholars on March 4, 21, April 14 and 15addressing topics including Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address, new scholarship on assassin John Wilkes Booth, and how Lincoln's leadership and legacy relates to influential leaders such as Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr.; Remembering Lincoln, an online collection of personal reactions and artifacts showcasing the response to Abraham Lincoln's death, including educational resources;and much more.

"Lincoln's powerful words, national vision and untimely end changed American history," said Ford's Theatre Society Director Paul R. Tetreault. "Out of the terrible tragedy of 150 years ago, Ford's Theatre has transformed into a national destination where visitors can reflect upon Lincoln's leadership, love of country and the performing arts. With Ford's 150, people around the world have an opportunity to honor our 16th president and participate in commemorative programs and exhibitions on site, in classrooms and online."

Ford's 150: Remembering the Lincoln Assassination is presented by Chevron with additional support provided by National Park ServiceAT&T,BP America and Siemens Corporation.Silent Witnesses: Artifacts of the Lincoln Assassination is presented by United Technologies, with underwriting support by Exxon Mobil Corporation and Altria GroupFord's 150 Official Media Partner is The Washington Post.

Events for Ford's 150: Remembering the Lincoln Assassination (in date order)

The Widow Lincoln (World Premiere Drama)
By James Still;Directed by Stephen Rayne
January 23-February 22, 2015
Ford's Theatre (511 Tenth Street NW)

Ridiculed and disdained for her perceived sense of entitlement, Mary Lincoln sparked more controversy than any First Lady before or since. Set during the weeks following Abraham Lincoln's murder at Ford's Theatre, The Widow Lincoln portrays a very human Mary in the aftermath of her husband's death as she mourns the post-war life they will never share. Playwright James Still (The Heavens Are Hung in Black) returns with an emotional drama that explores the tenacious attitudes and heartbreaking grief of the maligned "Mrs. President." Press Night: January 28.

Post-Performance Discussion for The Widow Lincoln
February 3, 2015
Ford's Theatre (511 Tenth Street NW)

Following the 7:30 p.m. performance, join Pat Krider, Executive Director of the National First Ladies Library and Anita McBride, former Chief of Staff to First Lady Laura Bush andExecutive-in-Residence at the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University for a post-performance discussion on the changing role of First Lady over the past 150 years.


Through Lincoln's Words: Target Oratory Residency and Festival 
Celebrating President Lincoln's Birthday
February 10 and 11, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
Ford's Theatre (511 Tenth Street NW)

More than 375 Washington-area elementary and middle school students will perform a selection of President Abraham Lincoln's speeches on the Ford's Theatre stage as part of Ford's Theatre Society's seventh-annual Target Oratory Festival. This year's program features students who have benefitted from the integration of historical speeches and letters into History and English classes to help strengthen their understanding of history and improve their public-speaking skills. Tickets are available on a first-come basis the day of event. Learn more at http://www.fords.org/home/education/school-programs/target-oratory-festival


Second Inaugural Address Panel
Civil War to Civil Rights: The Last Great Speeches of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Wednesday, March 4, 2015, 7:30 p.m.
Washington National Cathedral (3101 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016)

On the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address, join Ford's Theatre and Washington National Cathedral for a free panel discussion, moderated by MSNBC's Chris Matthews, focusing on Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech. This free event explores how the powerful words of these men and their final great speeches recognized the polarizing divisions of our nation and called for a unified American identity. Ford's Theatre Members and Groups of 15 or more may reserve advance tickets beginning January 21, 2015. Tickets for the general public will be available for reservation beginning January 26, 2015.


National Park Service Education Program at the Lincoln Memorial
Civil Rights and the Lincoln Memorial on the 150th Anniversary of Lincoln's Second Inaugural
March 4, 2015

Learn more about Civil Rights and the Lincoln Memorial through a distance learning program that will take place at 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. ET. Students will explore this topic through the use of primary sources including Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address, which is inscribed on the north wall of the Lincoln Memorial. What will these sources reveal? On-site educational activities focused on the inaugural events that took place on March 4, 1865, and at the inaugural ball also available.


National Park Service Washington Monument Activities
March 7, 2015, Noon-5:00 p.m.

Fun for the whole family! The National Park Service provides four activity stations exploring aspects of the Civil War Washington using excerpts from the Civil War-era diary of 27-year-old D.C.-resident Mary Henry. Mary's diary provides a detailed account of what daily life was like in the nation's capital during the Civil War. Participants can pick up an activity book from any of the four stations at the Washington Monument. The activities focus on technology, service to country, fun and games and legacy.


Second Inaugural Address Commemoration Ceremony
Saturday, March 7, 2015 at 9:30AM
Lincoln Memorial

Join the National Park Service and the Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia at the Lincoln Memorial for a special ceremony commemorating the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's second inauguration. Enjoy Civil War music, a recreation of Lincoln taking the oath of office and reciting his Second Inaugural Address, learn more about the meaning of the address itself and how its meanings connected the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement. Event is free.


Freedom's Song: Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War (Musical)
By Frank Wildhorn, Gregory Boyd and Jack Murphy
Music by Frank Wildhorn
Adapted by Richard Hellesen and Mark Ramont
Directed by Jeff Calhoun
March 13-May 20, 2015
Ford's Theatre (511 Tenth Street NW)

This epic musical features the words of Abraham Lincoln and music inspired by the letters of those who lived through the Civil War. With rousing music, stirring speeches and rich, historic costumes Freedom's Song evokes the soaring hopes and tragic losses of the real people of Civil War America. Through a series of highly theatrical vignettes, we see everyday Americans courageously confront the gritty realities of a tattered nation and a war that pitted brother against brother. Lincoln's inspirational words intermix with these stories, imagining a bloody nation once again unified and the return of a truly United States. Jeff Calhoun (Broadway's Newsies) returns to direct this lively historical opus. Press Night: March 18.

Abraham Lincoln Institute Symposium
Saturday, March 21, 2015
Ford's Theatre (511 Tenth Street NW)

The Abraham Lincoln Institute and Ford's Theatre Society present a free symposium focused on the life, career and legacy of President Abraham Lincoln. Noted authors and historians Terry Alford, Richard Wightman Fox, Stephen A. Goldman, Martha Hodes and Jonathan W. White will discuss aspects of our 16th president's leadership, his vision for Reconstruction and the effect his assassination had on American society. A full schedule is posted at http://www.fords.org/event/abraham-lincoln-symposium. Abraham Lincoln Institute affiliates may reserve tickets in advance beginning January 5, 2015, while Ford's Theatre Society members may reserve in advance beginningFebruary 10, 2015. Tickets are available to the public on the day of the event on a first-come, first-served basis.


History on Foot
Investigation: Detective McDevitt
March-October 2015

History on Foot walking tour brings Civil War Washington to life. Join Detective James McDevitt for a first-hand look at the investigation into the Lincoln Assassination Conspiracy and the events of April 14 and 15, 1865. Led by an actor in costume, the outdoor walking tour lasts approximately two hours and makes at least eight stops in downtown Washington related to Lincoln, the assassination and the Civil War. Tickets to Investigation: Detective McDevitt are $15 and can be reserved through Ticketmaster at (800) 982-2787 or by visiting www.fords.org. Ticketmaster fees apply. Groups of 15 or more may reserve discounted tickets by calling (202) 638-2367.Virtual McDevitt tours are available using IP-based video conferencing. Emaileducation@fords.org for more information.


One Destiny
By Richard Hellesen;Directed by Mark Ramont
March-May 2015

Learn about Lincoln's assassination from two men who were there. This 35-minute play at Ford's Theatre explores the key facts of the assassination while capturing the emotions of that fateful night. Features costumed actors.Daytime performances vary. Tickets are required for all performances of One Destiny. Tickets are $7.50 in advance or $5.00 the day of the performance. Tickets can be reserved through Ticketmaster at (800) 982-2787 or by visitingfords.org. Ticketmaster fees apply. Groups of 15 or more may reserve discounted tickets by calling (202) 638-2367.


The Road from Appomattox
By Richard Hellesen
April 9, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

A dramatic imagining of the meeting between Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant on the day after Lee's surrender at Appomattox, The Road From Appomattox explores how two great and very different generals ended the war with mercy and the best interests of the country in mind. This one-act play is offered at Ford's Theatre on April 9, 2015, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the surrender at Appomattox. Learn more athttp://www.fords.org/event/road-appomattox.


The Lincoln Tribute
April 14-15, 2015
Ford's Theatre Campus

This around-the-clock event will mark the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's assassination. During the day on April 14 and 15, visitors can choose to: explore the Ford's Theatre Museum;hear a ranger talk, watch a performance of the one-act play One Destiny, or enjoy a self-guided tour in the Theatre;or visit the Petersen House and exhibitions at the Center for Education and Leadership. Outdoor History on Foot walking tours led by costumed actors and guided tours of Ford's Theatre also will be offered. Midday panel discussions about the life, assassination and legacy of our 16th president will be led by scholars on site. On the street outside, throughout the day and night, actors will share first-person accounts about the end of the Civil War, the experience of being inside the theatre at the moment of the assassination, medical reports from the Petersen House, and the impact of Lincoln's life and death. Starting the evening of April 14, Ford's will host Civil War living historians on Tenth Street to recreate the all-night vigil for Abraham Lincoln. The public will be able to visit the Ford's Theatre campus throughout the night. The morning of April 15, Ford's Theatre Society and the National Park Service will mark Abraham Lincoln's death at 7:22 a.m. with a wreath-laying ceremony;church bells will toll across the city, just as they did in 1865. Tickets are required for all entry to the Ford's Theatre campus (Museum, Theatre, Petersen House and Center for Education and Leadership) and History on Foot.


Now He Belongs to the Ages: A Lincoln Commemoration
April 14, 2015, at 9:00 p.m.
Ford's Theatre (511 Tenth Street NW)
Live streamed online and at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard

Ford's Theatre marks 150 years since Abraham Lincoln's assassination with a moving commemorative event. Event to include readings of Lincoln's words and stories, Civil War-era music, excerpts from Lincoln's favorite theatre and operas, and more. The event seeks to remind us that we not only lost a president;we lost a man who treasured his family, his friends and his country with a love so strong it could hold the Union together. Tickets are limited. Tickets for the Ford's Theatre event will be available to select John T. Ford Society members beginning February 23, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. Tickets for the general public will be available in March.


National Park Service Commemorative Wreath Laying
April 15, 2015, 7:22 a.m.
Petersen House (the house where Lincoln died)

The National Park Service will lay a wreath at the Petersen House marking the moment when President Lincoln passed away 150 years ago. A short speaking program will be followed by a moment of silence and church bells tolling across the city, just as they did in 1865. Additional details will be announced in March 2015.



Silent Witnesses: Artifacts of the Lincoln Assassination
March 23-May 25, 2015

Center for Education and Leadership (514 Tenth Street NW, Washington, DC)

This special exhibition at the Center for Education and Leadership will commemorate the assassination and death of Abraham Lincoln by reuniting—for the first time since April 1865—an extraordinary collection of artifacts that were in Ford's Theatre or carried by Lincoln the night of the assassination. Included within the exhibition are the contents of Lincoln's pockets, his top hat and his great coat from the night of his assassination;and much more. The exhibition is presented in partnership with the National Museum of American History.

Additionally, Lincoln's carriage, which transported the president, Mary Lincoln, Major Henry Rathbone and his fiancée Clara Harris to Ford's Theatre, will be on display at the National Museum of American History, March 23 to May 25, 2015.

Lenders for Silent Witnesses: Artifacts of the Lincoln Assassination include the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum;Chicago History Museum;Library of Congress;National Museum of American History;National Park Service;Pike County Historical Society;Shapell Manuscript Foundation;Studebaker National Museum;and historian James Swanson.



Remembering Lincoln: A Digital Collection of Responses to the Lincoln Assassination
Launching March 2015

In 1865, as people around the nation and around the world learned of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, they recorded their reactions in many forms—from written materials like diaries and letters to decorative items like ribbons and flags. For the first time in one place, discover personal items and remembrances from the Americans whose lives were touched by the president's death and its national and international aftermath. These unique items, some hidden for decades in private collections, archives and museum collections, will be viewable online from anywhere in the world. The website will also include educational resources to make the collection useful to teachers and students. For more information, visit http://www.fords.org/remembering-lincoln.

Ford's Theatre Virtual Field Trip with Discovery Education
March 26, 2015, Streamed live at 1:00 p.m. ET

Ford's Theatre partners with Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms nationwide, to take U.S. students on an interactive virtual field trip to the national historic landmark and working theatre on March 26, 2015. This unique learning experience gives students an exclusive opportunity to tour the historic site, explore the leadership and legacy of Abraham Lincoln, and learn the story of the president's assassination and its impact on American history. Classrooms across the country are invited to register and submit questions for experts from Ford's Theatre to be answered live during the event by visiting bit.ly/fords-vft2015. Discovery Education also will offer participating educators a collection of post-event classroom activities related to President Lincoln and his legacy. Students of all ages are invited to join the live, online Q and A with Ford's Theatre Education experts on April 14 and 15 at 1:00 p.m. ET. The Ford's Theatre Field Trip will be available on fords.org beginning April 13.

Smithsonian Channel Broadcast:
Lincoln's Last Day
April 2015

In connection with Silent Witnesses: Artifacts of the Lincoln Assassination, the Smithsonian Channel will air a one-hour special in April 2015 titled Lincoln's Last Day, which counts down the final 24 hours of Abraham Lincoln's life. Through a rare collection of intensely personal artifacts connected to the Lincoln assassination, the program will unravel the movements of each player in the deadly plot. By exploring the objects that survived—possessions like Lincoln's gold watch and hat and John Wilkes Booth's diary and deringer—Lincoln's Last Day tells the story of a moment that would transform a nation

Virtual Field Trip Hangout
April 14, 2015, 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. ET

If you miss it live on March 26, the Ford's Theatre Virtual Field Trip will be available for viewing on www.fords.org beginning April 13. Join the Education team on April 14 for a live, online Q and A session.


Google Cultural Institute Exhibitions and Museum View
Launching Spring 2015

Ford's Theatre is honored to partner with Google Cultural Institute to share interactive online exhibitions about the Lincoln assassination, Ford's Theatre and Petersen House history, and Lincoln's legacy. Additionally, explore Ford's Theatre on Google Cultural Institute via Google Museum View, which allows you to virtually walk through the Theatre, Petersen House and museum exhibitions as if you are on site.



Summer Teacher Workshops: The Seat of War and Peace
July 5-11 and July 26-August 2, 2015

Join us for one of two week-long Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops for school teachers. Ford's Theatre Education brings renowned scholars and teachers together to explore the Lincoln assassination and its continuing resonance in American history through place-based learning, digital resources and cutting-edge scholarship. These workshops are made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Applications dueMarch 2, 2015. Apply at www.fords.org/home/education/teacher-programs/neh.


About Ford's Theatre

One of the most visited sites in the nation's capital, Ford's Theatre reopened its doors in 1968, more than a hundred years after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Operated through a partnership between Ford's Theatre Society and the National Park Service, Ford's Theatre is the premier destination in the nation's capital to explore and celebrate Abraham Lincoln's ideals and leadership principles: courage, integrity, tolerance, equality and creative expression.

About Ford's Theatre Society

Ford's Theatre Society was founded under the guidance of executive producer Frankie Hewitt, who, during her 35-year tenure, established Ford's as a living, working theatre producing performances that highlighted the diversity of the American experience. Since the arrival of Paul R. Tetreault as Director, critics and the theatregoing public have recognized Ford's for the superior quality of its artistic programming. With works from the nationally acclaimed Big River to the world premieres of Meet John DoeThe Heavens Are Hung In BlackLiberty Smith and Necessary Sacrifices, Ford's Theatre is making its mark on the American theatre landscape. Under the leadership ofWayne R. Reynolds, Board of Trustees Chairman Emeritus (Chairman 2007 to 2012), the mission of Ford's Theatre Society expanded to include education as a central pillar. This expansion led to the creation and construction of the Center for Education and Leadership, which opened in February 2012. Currently, under the leadership of Board of Trustees Chairman Eric A. Spiegel, Ford's enters a second phase of strategic planning to ensure the organization's place as a national destination for exploring Lincoln's legacy and the American experience through the intersection of history, performance and education.

For more information on Ford's Theatre and the Ford's Theatre Society, please visit www.fords.org.

For information on the National Park Service and the Ford's Theatre National Historic Site, please visit www.nps.gov/foth.



Last updated: April 10, 2015

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