Where was I during the Earthquake? Ford’s Theater

Work had me in Washington, DC on Tuesday.  Normal day for the most part.  But in my line of work that means meetings where tight delivery schedules are balanced against budget.  Seems like we are always dealing with “troubles.”

So a little after lunch when the building shook, we were told to clear the building.  Only made sense from there to take the DC Metro Rail back to Virginia.  Of course, everyone else had the same idea.  With the trains running at reduced speed, the crowd, and other factors, nobody was going anywhere fast.  More “troubles” on top of “troubles.”  After watching several trains depart Metro Center Station then estimating the possibilities, I figured to get above ground and wait out the rush.  So around four in the afternoon I went looking for a bite to eat.

If you are familiar with downtown Washington, D.C. you probably know what place name caught my eye on the orientation signs.  I was a block or so away.  I had time to kill.  So off to Ford’s Theater!

The National Park Service has redesigned the museum since my last visit three years ago.  In the past space limitations (due to renovations) confined much of the interpretation to the assassination itself.  The expanded interpretation covers almost every aspect of the Civil War presidency – military affairs, emancipation, and cabinet shuffles do get significant space.   The museum also works many aspects of Lincoln’s personal life into the presentation. With visual and audio, the museum explores the mountain of “troubles” Lincoln faced every day.

Guidebooks have always noted Ford’s Theater as a necessary stop on a Civil War tour of the D.C. Metro area (I’ll make a plug for Civil War Trust’s 150 checklist in that regard!).  But now that stop includes an excellent overview of the Civil War.  And if you have not visited in the last few years, it is worth a re-visit.

No camera with me yesterday, and my phone takes photos below the quality I like to use in posts.  I’ll have to work in another visit on another day.

But while most of the city around us reacted to the earthquake and commuting snarls, about a dozen tourists and I strolled through history.  After my stop at Ford’s Theater it was somewhere near five in the afternoon.  Like many others “trapped” in D.C. I found a place that served cold beverages and waited some more.  Finally around six I got back to the metro station and waited another hour for my spot on the train.   But my spirits were up.  The “troubles” I faced were trivial compared to those Abraham Lincoln confronted.