Sunday, May 21, 2017

Ford's Theatre Museum Items to Enter Conservation Storage Beginning May 23

Aftermath Exhibit on the Center for Education and Leadership (Photo: Maxwell MacKenzie)

From our friends at Ford's Theatre...

Textiles Including President Abraham Lincoln’s Clothing, Presidential Box’s Treasury Guard Flag and a Sanitary Commission Quilt Will Be Replaced with Replicas/Additional Items

May 22, 2017 is final opportunity to see these items at Ford’s Theatre

The National Park Service and Ford’s Theatre Society announced that several priceless textiles currently on display in the Ford’s Theatre Museum will be removed beginning May 23, 2017. Items include Abraham Lincoln’s clothing worn the night of his assassination (suit coat, vest, bowtie, pants); the Treasury Guard flag displayed on the Ford’s Theatre Presidential Box on April 14, 1865; orchestra leader William Withers’ frock coat (slashed by assassin John Wilkes Booth on his escape from the Ford’s Theatre stage); a quilt signed by President Lincoln and members of his cabinet for auction by the Sanitary Commission; and two small pieces of Native American bead work jewelry that were gifts to President Lincoln. The removed items will undergo a lengthy period of conservation and stabilization.

Reproduction prints of the Treasury Flag and Sanitary Commission quilt will, on May 30, replace those items in the museum. Lincoln’s clothing will be replaced with a replica of the president’s one-of-a-kind overcoat. The great coat features a unique embroidered lining that includes a soaring eagle carrying a banner which reads, “One Country, One Destiny.”

Additional artifacts from the night of President Lincoln’s assassination (Mary Lincoln’s opera glasses, patron ticket stubs and playbills, wallpaper from and the door to the Presidential Box, others) will remain on display within the Ford’s Theatre Museum.

Artifacts in the Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site collection are managed by the National Park Service with the support of the Ford’s Theatre Society. Decisions to remove artifacts from display are made to balance conservation of and public access to the historic items that were used and worn more than 152 years ago during President Lincoln’s presidency and his assassination at Ford’s Theatre.

“Textiles are particularly fragile and susceptible to the effects of light exposure, humidity fluctuations and gravity,” said Laura Anderson, Museum Curator for the National Park Service’s National Mall and Memorial Parks. “As they age, the antique fibers within these irreplaceable items undergo chemical changes that weaken them and it is in our national interest to conserve and protect them for future generations.”

Visit Ford’s Theatre:
Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site operates on a timed entry ticket system. Museum and theatre entry are not included in every ticket. Visitors are encouraged to check schedules and reserve tickets in advance at Same-day historic site tickets are limited. The Ford’s Theatre box office opens at 8:30 AM.

NPS and FTS Partnership:
Since Ford's Theatre's reopening in 1968, more than 100 years after the April 14, 1865 assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, it has been one of the most visited sites in the nation’s capital. Operated through a partnership with the NPS and FTS, Ford’s Theatre has enthralled visitors because of its unique place in United States history, and its mission to celebrate the legacy of Abraham Lincoln and explore the American experience through theatre and education. The NPS and FTS work together to present the Theatre’s nearly one million annual visitors with a high quality historical and cultural experience.

For more information on Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site and the Ford’s Theatre Society, please visit and