Objects left behind are a window to the past. Ford’s Theatre’s collection of artifacts brings you close and personal with one of the consequential murders in history.
Ford’s Theatre invites you to explore the items below and their significance. Examine them closely and imagine what it would feel like to hold material evidence of the last days of President Lincoln and conspirators who plotted to kill him.
Explore the Evidence
A Night at the Theatre
The night of April 14th, 1865, attendees of Ford’s Theatre expected to see a regular performance of Our American Cousin. Little did they know that what they would see that night would change the course of American history.
After John Wilkes Booth shot President Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865, he dropped his deringer pistol. What should happen to the weapon has been a question ever since.
Coffin Tools & Frame
S.S. Elder, a welder in Springfield, Illinois, was given the duty of sealing President Abraham Lincoln’s coffin before his burial on May 4, 1865.
High-resolution images of the clothing President Abraham Lincoln wore to Ford’s Theatre the night he was assassinated.
Material Evidence: Dr. Mudd
Dr. Samuel Mudd claimed not to recognize the two men who appeared at his home the morning of April 15, 1865.
Material Evidence: John Wilkes Booth
John Wilkes Booth’s escape from Washington lasted 12 days. See what he had with him during his journey.
Material Evidence: Powell & Atzerodt
George Atzerodt and Lewis Powell were assigned with the assassinations of Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William H. Seward, respectively.
Lincoln’s Life Masks
These two extraordinary life masks—made but five years apart—record with painful precision the grueling physical toll the Civil War exacted on Abraham Lincoln.
A pillow from Willie Clark’s bed at the Petersen House is now a priceless relic. On it, you can see the blood of President Abraham Lincoln.
Sanitary Commission Quilt
When it was auctioned off at the Sanitary Fair in Philadelphia in 1864, this patriotic quilt may have raised a few hundred dollars. Today the signatures it bears makes it a priceless Who’s Who of Civil War history.
For seven weeks in May and June 1865, the nation’s attention was fixed on the third floor of Washington’s Old Arsenal Penitentiary. There, seven men and one woman were on trial for their lives.
Treasury Guard Flag
When John Wilkes Booth leaped from the Ford’s Theatre Presidential Box after he shot President Abraham Lincoln, the spur of his boot caught on a U.S. Treasury Guards flag adorning the box