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«Ford’s Theatre Explorations – Middle School Dear Teacher: Thank you for bringing your class to visit the Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site. ...»

Ford’s Theatre Explorations – Middle School

Dear Teacher:

Thank you for bringing your class to visit the Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site. This

museum guide is intended to deepen student understanding of Abraham Lincoln’s

presidency and Washington during the Civil War.

BEFORE YOU VISIT THE MUSEUM: Below are pre-visit materials that will assist you

in your visit.

 Vocabulary List: This list is important to review with your students because it will help them complete the guide. You may wish to provide the students with copies.

 List of museum exhibits and map: These are included so you can become familiar with the museum before you arrive. We also encourage you to look at the virtual

tour of the museum on our website, which you can find at:

http://www.fords.org/sites/default/files/virtualTour/index.html  Please provide a copy of the guide to each of your students and ask them to bring something to write on and a pencil. Pens are NOT allowed in the museum.

IN THE MUSEUM: This packet includes two different guides around which to structure your museum visit. As your students go through the museum, you may also wish to fill out a guide along with them.

1. Ford’s Theatre Museum Guide – a general overview of the museum and key moments in Lincoln’s presidency.

2. Ford’ Theatre Museum Guide: Lincoln the Leader – a more challenging guide which focuses on Lincoln’s leadership abilities and legacy.

BACK IN THE CLASSROOM: The last page of this packet, titled “Classroom Conversations,” is intended to be completed once you return to your classroom.

Questions presented on these pages are meant to facilitate discussion on material that your students learned at the site. We suggest having students discuss these questions in pairs or small groups.

We hope you enjoy your visit!

A capacity, and taste, for reading, gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others. It is the key, or one of the keys, to the already solved problems. And not only so. It gives a relish, and facility, for successfully pursuing the [yet] unsolved ones.

-- Abraham Lincoln, September 30, 1859, Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society For more information contact education@fords.org Before Your Visit: For the Teacher Museum Vocabulary  abolish – to do away with; put an end to. Abraham Lincoln wanted to abolish slavery.

 artifact – a man-made object from another time period or culture. My favorite artifact from the Lincoln family’s home is Tad’s toy sword  assassinate – to kill suddenly or secretively, often for political reasons. John Wilkes Booth used a pistol to assassinate President Lincoln.

 Cabinet – the President’s advisors. Abraham Lincoln depended on members of his Cabinet to think about problems from many viewpoints.

 Confederacy – during the Civil War, the eleven Southern states which rebelled and left the United States; also called the Confederate States of America.

Jefferson Davis was the President of the Confederacy.

 conspiracy – a secret or unlawful plan or plot involving two or more people. John Wilkes Booth was the leader of the conspiracy to harm President Lincoln.

 contraband – illegal goods taken into or out of a country against the law; during the Civil War, slaves who escaped to the North were considered contraband.

When escaped slaves were found in the North, the people helping them could get in trouble for smuggling contraband.

 emancipate – to free. Southern slave owners disliked Lincoln because he wanted to emancipate all the slaves in America.

 inauguration – an act or ceremony formally beginning something. The President takes an oath of office during his inauguration.

 institution – an established and accepted pattern, custom, law, or behavior. The institution of slavery was a central part of Southern life.

 orator – a public speaker or speech maker. We know President Lincoln was a talented orator because he gave famous speeches like the Gettysburg Address.

 proclamation – a public and official announcement. On New Year’s Day, 1863, Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which announced that all slaves in Southern states were free.

 secede – to withdraw from an organization, alliance, or association. In 1860, South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union.

 Union – the United States of America; during the Civil War, the Northern states.

Abraham Lincoln did not want the South to secede because he wanted the Union to remain intact.

–  –  –

 Entrance/Washington in the 1860s – describes life in Washington in the early 1860s and the challenges Lincoln faced as he made his way to the city and took up his responsibilities as President.

 Video: “We Must Not Be Enemies” – Lincoln’s First Inauguration  Lincoln’s Cabinet/A Swarm of Office Seekers – describes how Lincoln filled government positions, shows the contrast between modern presidents and Lincoln, and relates humorous anecdotes about the President.

 The U.S. Sanitary Commission & quilt artifact – illustrates civilian war efforts  Video: “The March to War” – describes the outbreak of the Civil War and the controversial decisions Lincoln made as the war progressed  The Improvised War – describes two of Lincoln’s most influential generals and provides a timeline of important events in the early years of the Civil War  Life in the White House – introduces the Lincoln Family and details their daily life in Washington For more information contact education@fords.org  Freedom Road/Emancipation – presents milestones of Lincoln’s career on the path to emancipation and the elimination of slavery in the United States  Video: “We Cannot Escape History” – Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass  Lincoln and the Theatre – describes Lincoln’s love of theatre and the release it provided him from the stresses of office  Lincoln’s Daily Life & ‘The Bubble’ – recreated office with electronic desk presents a selection of the tasks and challenges Lincoln dealt with on a daily basis.

 A Revolving Door of Union Generals– examines Lincoln’s frustrating search for a general willing to take the necessary steps to victory.

 Video: “The Gettysburg Address” – delivered by four modern presidents and narrated by Tom Brokaw  1864: Year of Decisions – follows Lincoln’s difficult campaign for re-election as the tide of the war turned.

 Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address – explores Lincoln’s vision for his second term through quotations from his inaugural address  Surratt Boarding House & the Conspiracy – introduces John Wilkes Booth and his fellow conspirators, and features artifacts from the assassination plot, including the deringer pistol used by Booth to assassinate Lincoln.

 Visiting Richmond – describes the decisive Union campaigns of early April 1865 which eventually proved to mean the end of the Confederacy.

 Lincoln’s Last Speech – in the wake of Confederate General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House, Lincoln speaks of his intentions for reuniting the country  The Performance – displays artifacts related to the April 14, 1865 performance of Our American Cousin at which Lincoln was assassinated.

–  –  –

Washington in the 1860s In 1861 when Abraham Lincoln was elected president, Washington was a new, rough, and unsanitary city.

1. Look at the map and photographs of Washington in the 1860s, read the information on the panel at the very bottom of the stairs, and watch the video about Lincoln’s First Inauguration. List four things you notice that have changed about Washington since 1861.

 _____________________________________________

 _____________________________________________

 _____________________________________________

 _____________________________________________

Life in the White House Find the family photo gallery and read the panels that tell about Willie and Tad Lincoln.

1. What are some things Willie and Tad liked to do for fun?

2. In the photo gallery, find the large drawing of four members of the Lincoln family. In the image, who is in the portrait on the wall behind the Lincolns, and why is he included like this?

–  –  –

4. In the display case, find an artifact which belonged to Tad Lincoln.


5. Choose another artifact from the case: _______________________

What is it for? Do you think an object like this is still used in the White House today? Explain why or why not.

–  –  –

1. As a young man what did Lincoln see in New Orleans that had a big impact on his view of slavery?

2. How do you think the lives of emancipated slaves changed?

3. Do you think anything stayed the same for freed slaves?

Watch the video about the friendship between Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

1. How did Frederick Douglass influence President Lincoln’s view of the slaves during the Civil War?

–  –  –

1. What did Lincoln like to do to relax? Name two things.

 _______________________________________

 _______________________________________

The Conspiracy and Assassination President Lincoln was assassinated at Ford’s Theatre by John Wilkes Booth.

Booth was a famous actor who was upset that the South was losing the Civil War and that Lincoln had just been re-elected. He hatched a conspiracy – a secret plot – to kill the President, Vice President, and Secretary of State.

Walk inside the Surratt Boarding House and meet the conspirators.

1. Choose one of the conspirators to study closely. Touch the life-size statue of your conspirator. Does this look like someone who would carry out a violent plan to kill the president? Think about why or why not.

2. Look at the photograph of your conspirator and read about him or her.

What was his or her name?


What was his or her role in the plan?

What happened to him or her after Lincoln’s death?

–  –  –

1. Lincoln asked, “What would the nation think of its President stealing into its capital like a thief in the night?” From this quotation, what can you guess about Lincoln’s views on how a leader should behave?

Move ahead to the statues of office seekers who surrounded Lincoln asking for favors. Read the stories in the flip books on the display.

–  –  –

Move forward to the Fort Sumter display, “The March to War,” and watch the video about the outbreak of the Civil War.

4. Lincoln angered Chief Justice Taney by suspending the Writ of Habeas Corpus in Maryland. What did that law guarantee?

5. When Lincoln was criticized for violating a Constitutional right, he replied, “often a limb must be amputated to save a life; but a life is never wisely given to save a limb.” What did he mean by this? Do you agree with Lincoln?

–  –  –

6. List three issues and decisions other than those related to the war which Lincoln dealt with as president.

a. ________________________________________

b. ________________________________________

c. ________________________________________

Today Lincoln is famous for his speeches and his skill as an orator. Watch the video about the Gettysburg Address to hear how he transformed this aspect of the presidency. Then cross the room and visit the displays about Lincoln’s bid for reelection in 1864.

7. Compare the Election of 1864 and the candidates’ campaign strategies with presidential elections today.

–  –  –

Walk towards the tree and on your right look for the panel depicting Lincoln’s second inauguration. Read the quotation from his inauguration speech: “With malice toward none, with charity for all…”

8. How does this speech set Lincoln apart from the other politicians of his time?

–  –  –

9. What do you think is the most useful artifact used to carry out the conspiracy?

10. What do you think is the most surprising or unusual artifact used by the conspirators? Explain you answer.

Exit the Boarding House through the doorway on the left and read the panel near the stairs titled “Lincoln’s Last Speech.”

11. When he gave this speech, Lincoln naturally assumed he still had almost four years ahead of him as president. What do you think he planned to achieve in that time period? What obstacles would he have faced? Based on what you’ve learned about Lincoln so far, how do you think he would have addressed those issues?

–  –  –

What is your favorite part of the museum? Explain your answer.

Draw a picture illustrating something you learned during your visit to Ford’s Theatre which you never knew before. Then have the whole class combine their illustrations to create a mural of everything you’ve learned about President Lincoln and Civil War Washington.

Partner/Group Work:

1. Think back over the museum and the quotations you encountered from four of Lincoln’s most famous speeches: his first inaugural speech (“we must not be enemies”), the Gettysburg Address, his second inaugural speech (“with malice toward none”) and his last speech (in which he suggested giving the right to vote to former slaves). Brainstorm a list of ideal qualities in a leader which you think Lincoln possessed, as indicated in his speeches.

2. How do you think American history and life following the Civil War would have been different, especially in the Reconstruction-era South, if Lincoln had not been assassinated? Brainstorm with your group and record some of your ideas.

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