DC Trip Highlights – Ane’s Day Out

When we started planning our trip to DC, we asked Ane if there was anything that she really wanted to do while we were there.

“Go to Ford’s Theatre,” said our Civil War history buff.

So we checked ahead, reserved tickets, and took Ane to Ford’s Theatre.

Waiting to go in!

Ford’s is still a working theater, but during the day, there is a museum related to the Lincoln presidency, the Civil War, the assassination plot, the events around the assassination, and the manhunt for the killers.  With admission, you get to see the museum, walk through the theater, and go to Petersen House (where Lincoln died) and the Lincoln Center for Education and Leadership (which is connected to Petersen House).

Ane has been fascinated with the Lincoln assassination, and the Civil War, ever since last summer.  We read Lincoln’s Last Days, along with several young adult Civil War novels, and it really took hold in her head.  So, I knew that this trip would be the perfect time to really cement this history into her head.

She was so excited!

Ane and President Lincoln

The museum held so many artifacts, and so much to read.  It begins with Lincoln’s election and goes forward from there.

Pieces from the Lincoln White House china

The artifacts surrounding the actual assassination are the most compelling.  For example, they have John Wilkes Booth’s gun.

Booth's gun that killed Lincoln

The boot that Dr. Samuel Mudd cut off Booth’s leg, in order to splint it after he broke it jumping from the presidential box to the stage.

Booth's boot and spur

The journal Booth kept while he was on the run.

Booth's journal

The clothes Lincoln was wearing to the theater that night (all except the shirt, which was bloodstained and not preserved with these clothes) are also there.

The Webmaster looks at Lincoln's clothes

When we finally got into the theater, Ane could hardly contain herself.  Though she was a bit disappointed to not be able to go into the presidential box.

The Webmaster and Ane in the front row in Ford's Theatre

The jump from the presidential box to the stage is not a high one.  It’s easy to see why Booth thought this would be a feasible escape route.  The only reason he broke his leg on the fall is because his boot spur caught in the bunting lining the railing.

The jump is not high

Ane said there was nothing like being in the actual theater and seeing it all for herself.

Ane on the balcony with the presidential box in the background

After we’d seen enough in the theater, we got in line at Petersen House.

Petersen House plaque

Petersen House was a boarding house.  People now walk through the parlor (where Mary Lincoln waited), a front bedroom (where witness statements were taken), and the back bedroom where President Lincoln died.

The room

The bed is a reproduction (the original is in a Chicago museum) but one of the original bloodstained pillows is in the museum (not on the bed).

The bed

After walking through Petersen House, you walk through to the Lincoln Center, which continues the story of the manhunt, Booth’s death, the trial and the execution of the other conspirators.  We managed to get through that much before we needed to make our appointment to meet up with the Major.  And we could have easily spent another hour or two there, in addition to the two that we did have there.

Even though Ford’s was off the beaten path, and we went there on foot, I am so glad that we made the effort to go.  I had been there on my trip, but the Webmaster had not, so he was seeing it all for the first time with Ane.  And Ane?  She is telling everyone who asks her that this was her most favorite part of the whole trip (aside from being with her aunt and uncle and cousins).  She still tells us how much she enjoyed getting to go and see the museum and theater for herself.

Tomorrow, I’ll fill in the blanks on what else we did this day out with Ane.  We did a LOT in just one day with one kid!

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