Ford’s Theatre Announces an Exclusive Exhibition

Marking the 150th Anniversary of Lincoln’s Assassination

Photo of John Wilkes Booth’s Deringer by Carol M. Highsmith; courtesy Ford’s Theatre. Photo of Lincoln’s Top Hat courtesy National Museum of American History. Contents of Lincoln’s Pockets image courtesy Library of Congress.

Ford’s Theatre Society announced that a hallmark museum exhibition, Silent Witnesses: Artifacts of the Lincoln Assassination, will return a priceless collection of items that were in the theatre or carried by Abraham Lincoln the night of his assassination, to the Center for Education and Leadership from 23 March to 25 May, 2015. The Center is located directly opposite Ford’s Theatre.

The exhibition will coincide with the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination and death 14-15 April, 2015.

Included within the Silent Witnesses exhibition are:
  • Abraham Lincoln’s top hat, cuff links, Brooks Brothers Great Coat and the contents of his pockets from the night of the assassination
  • Mary Todd Lincoln’s black velvet cape
  • John Wilkes Booth’s deringer pistol
  • A letter from Dr. Charles Leale, the first to attend to the wounded president
  • The Bunting Flag from the Presidential Box at Ford’s Theatre
  • Fragments from the gowns worn by Mary Todd Lincoln and guest Clara Harris
  • Gloves belonging to Major Henry Rathbone
  • A bloody sleeve cuff and fragment from the costume worn by leading actress Laura Keene
  • A playbill for the performance of Our American Cousin
  • A violin and drumsticks used in the orchestra the night of 14 April 1865.

Lenders for Silent Witnesses include the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum; Chicago History Museum; Library of Congress; National Museum of American History; National Park Service; Pike County Historical Society; Shapell Manuscript Foundation (; Studebaker National Museum; and historian James Swanson.

Additionally, Lincoln’s carriage, which transported the President, Mary Todd Lincoln, Major Henry Rathbone and his fiancée Clara Harris to Ford’s Theatre, will be on display at the National Museum of American History, 23 March to 25 May 2015.

As we approach the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination and remember the tremendous impact that his leadership and death had on our nation, we are proud to partner with the National Museum of American History, museums across the nation and with our colleagues at the National Park Service, to bring this extraordinary collection of artifacts under one roof,” said Ford’s Theatre Director Paul R. Tetreault.

By seeing these remarkable items up close and reading the personal accounts of those who were present at the assassination, we hope visitors will better understand the humanity of an American icon and how this tragedy changed the course of our history”, added Tetreault.

Capacity for Silent Witnesses: Artifacts of the Lincoln Assassination is limited. Advance daytime tickets to Silent Witness are included with the purchase of an Acoustiguide audio tour. A limited number of free day-of tickets will be available at the Ford’s Theatre Box Office on a first-come basis for extended viewing hours on Thursday evenings from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Reservations for groups (15 or more) may now be reserved through the Ford’s Theatre Group Sales office at Advance tickets are also available to Ford’s Theatre members through the Membership Hotline at (202) 434-9454. Advance tickets will be available to the general public on October 20 at 10 a.m. Ticketmaster fees apply.

Silent Witnesses is part of Ford’s 150: Remembering the Lincoln Assassination, a series of special events and programming marking 150 years since Lincoln’s assassination at Ford’s Theatre on 14 April 1865.

Additional programming includes: the world-premiere play The Widow Lincoln; the musical Freedom’s Song: Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War; The Lincoln Tribute, an around-the-clock event on April 14 and 15 marking Lincoln’s shooting and death; performances of the Society’s one-act plays One Destiny and The Road From Appomattox; History on Foot walking tours; a series of free panel discussions featuring historians and scholars; Remembering Lincoln, an online collection of personal reactions and artefacts showcasing the response to Abraham Lincoln’s death; and more.

A full programming schedule will be announced in January 2015.

For more information on the Ford’s Theatre exhibition, visit

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