My dad has a friend who is a huge American History Buff and has decided to live vicariously through my dad. He gave my dad a list of places of historical significance that we should all visit and the first on our list was the Ford Theater. I must say it's pretty impressive to be in a place that holds such historical importance. While I may not have known the story surrounding Lincoln's death, I sure do now. We (my dad, mom, Callen and I) had a great time wondering around the museum. Callen liked looking at all the colourful exhibits on the wall and I found the mixed media of the museum more stimulating (lots of movies, statues, and artifacts) than some other museums. In the Theater itself we were able to look at the presidential balcony where Lincoln was shot and enjoy a short play (well until Callen decided we had enough).
A Few D.C. and Ford Theater Tips
My biggest complaint about the majority of things to do in D.C. is their late opening times, 10am or later. My husband and I like to get out early, at or before 9am. Early in the morning the crowds are much smaller and you can accomplish so much. The nice thing about the Ford Theater is that its open at 9am daily. While we went on a Saturday, I highly recommend going to D.C. on a Sunday as there is free street parking (there is lots if you get into D.C. before 10am, you can still find some around 11 but the spots are not as good), but if you are willing to pay there is lots of garage parking.
You need to get a free ticket in order to visit the Theater (I'd assume they fill up during peak periods but it was not crowded 10am on a January Saturday). Before you enter the actual Theater you are directed to a very interesting and well planned museum. Plan to spend at least a half hour in the museum, more time if you are a huge history buff. Every hour or so you are allowed into the actual Ford Theater for a short performance (I do believe this changed). There is a bit of time to look around before the performance begins but I don't know how much time you are given after as we had to leave because of a fussy baby. If you have a loud baby or toddler the performance part of the tour might not be for you but don't let the stop you from checking out the museum and then take a quick look at the Theater.
If you are ever in the D.C. area I'd add this as a highlight for sure but if you are pressed for time, have loud kids, or don't care about Lincoln or history I'd skip it as there are more kid friendly museums near by (but not all are free).
My Parents and Callen in the Ford Theater Museum
Mom and Callen Brushing Up on their History
Callen Taking a Break
The Place where Lincoln was Shot
A Painting Outside the Theater