Last night, Ford’s Theatre re-opened its museum after nearly two years of extensive renovation. The result is a transformed space that magnificently shows off the National Park Service and Ford’s Theater Society’s remarkable collection of artifacts of President Lincoln and the events surrounding his assassination on April 14, 1865.
The museum now tells the story of Lincoln from his arrival in Washington in 1861 through the Civil War and the sudden end of his life. Lauren Beyea, the museum’s publicist, explained that they “tried to create a greater sense of the context of what Lincoln’s life was like when he was in Washington. The city doesn’t have anything like that – we have monuments and things that are in tribute to him scattered around the District. But being Ford’s Theatre and storytellers ourselves, we thought it would be a great opportunity to really embrace the history that surrounds this place as well as Lincoln himself.”
Above, some fuzzy cellphone camera video of my walk around the newly reopened Smithsonian National Museum of American History. A lot of the museum off to the sides has stayed mostly the same, but the change to the central chamber is startling. Alas, the old-fashioned ice cream parlor is gone, as well as the Information Age Exhibit with its Stephen Hansen carousel.
We’re starting a new series that we’ll post twice a month, looking at various locations, attractions and other fun spots to hit that exist within a half-day’s drive from the Beltway. It’s a way to give you ideas for some fun outside our little circle of asphalt here on the East Coast, without costing you any more than a tank (or less) of gas. Well, aside from tickets, food and the inevitable souvenir, that is.
I figured I’d kick off our first entry with a place that involved good ol’ George; you can never go wrong with our first President. So where in Virginia did George leave his mark early in his multi-faceted career?