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 Posted: Sun May 30th, 2010 10:28 pm
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Michael F. Blake
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I spent a day in Washington visiting Ford's Thetare.

Came away with mixed feelings.  I really enjoyed sitting in the theatre.  We sat through 2 presentations.  One was by a park service person who recounted what happened.  His presentation was pretty dull IMHO.  If I heard him say "Anyways..." one more time I was gonna scream!

The second rpesentation was a 1-act play with 2 actors playing Henry Hawks and Ford.  They recounted what happened, often playing other parts.  It was quite good, well written and performed.  If you get a chance to see it, do so.  Of the 2 presentations, the play was the best by far.

Then I went to the museum, which is how they herd you through, befor egoing into the theatre.  My wife & daughter had been there many years ago and said it was quite different.

Personally, I think the museum is poorly laid out, along with the MAJOR problem being they give you 30 minutes to see everything and that's it.  You cannot go back to catch anything you missed.

BIG, BIG MISTAKE.

I felt they tried to squeeze a lot of things into the small area, instead of focusing on what we all come to see...the site where our first US President was killed.  They have a small area wher ethey show life-sized statutes of the conspricators, along with pictures and a brief bio.  I like this very much.  The statutes were errie as you felt you were standing next to the real person.

I liked being able to see Booth's boot, Dr. Mudd's surgical kit, etc.  All of this interested me greatly.  (I have to admit, I am fascinated with the whole events of that night...what a movie it could make.)

I was really pissed off when I see they have pushed into a small corner the suit Lincoln wore, and other items from that night including tickets, theatre bill, etc.  To me all of this should be displayed front & center (as my wife said it was when she saw it about 10 yrs ago).

Again, my biggest complaint is that you only have 30 minutes to see everything, unless you get another ticket to see another show/presentation (which is what we did).

Petersen House had a huge line and I felt they rush you through it.  I know it is a small area to view and they have to move people through, but geez, could we have a few minutes to spend with our thoughts in the room where a great man passed away?

I am glad I went.  I enjoyed the 1-act play very much, and seeing the various artifacts from that awful night, but I also felt cheated that I could not spend a little more time there.

Just my two-cents, you mileage may vary.



 Posted: Mon May 31st, 2010 02:13 pm
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susansweet3
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I was there in the 70's and it was totally different then.  Then I don't remember being rushed though the museum.  I had all the time I wanted to look at the items on display.  There was also only a ranger talk in the theatre itself. 

When I went over to the Peterson house I did have time to stop and look around the room .  Glad I guess I went back then. 

Still would like to go back and see it again.  Too bad you are rushed though .

susan



 Posted: Mon May 31st, 2010 11:22 pm
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Doc C
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Was there the weekend before Memorial Day. Couldn't get into the museum but enjoyed the theatre and the Petersen House. Didn't bother me not seeing the museum b/o my living about an hour away. Probably better to go during a week day in the fall. Later went to the new CW exhibit at the Archives. Not entirely a waste of time but was for tourists who really had no idea about the CW. It was interesting seeing the letters on resignation by - Longstreet and others. Advice to visitors - DC is no place to visit during the summer, one word CROWDS.

Doc C



 Posted: Tue Jun 1st, 2010 01:46 am
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Michael F. Blake
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We stopped at the National Archives as well.  You are right about crowds...even in late May!

I was shocked at the fading condition of the Declaration of Independence.  You can barely make out John Hancock's signature!  Many of the others are faded beyond recognition.  Geez, the Magna Carta is in better shape.

The CW display was very disappointing for me & the wife.  This comes, of course, after visiting the museums in Gettysburg & Harrisburg, so it would be disappointing.  To me they did it on the cheap, making enlarged copies of things to fill space, instead of the real items.

I think the reason they did this was that some of the stuff is in such fragile or faded condition.  But I wish they would have had more things on display, IMHO.

We got to Ford's Theatre at 8 am and got the tickets.  What was nice about that time was there were NO tourists around, no crappy T-shirt vendors or buses, and I could get some nice shots of the theatre and Petersen House.

We also walked around the corner and went up the alley to look at the back of the theatre and where Booth would have escaped.  To me, that was neat...letting my mind drift back to that fateful evening.



 Posted: Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 01:59 am
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TimK
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This may not make any difference, but...

I see that Event Network, the "for profit" company that runs the bookstore and museum for the Gettysburg Foundation at Gettysburg NMP, now runs the bookstore at Ford's Theatre. This is from the Event Network web site. I would guess that they also manage the museum at Ford's Theatre. Eastern National, a "non-profit" association was the previous manager at both sites.

I'm curious as to if the way the museum and shows at Ford's Theatre are the way Event Network wants to run them, or if this is leftover from the way Eastern National ran things. I can't find a date as to when the change was made. Like I said, it may not matter - I'm just curious.



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