After being shot at Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was moved to William Petersen’s boarding house across the street from the theatre, where he later died. The Petersen House, which is now part of the Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site, has most recently undergone a period of extensive renovation and repair work. The building’s rehabilitation included exterior repairs; an interior overhaul; repairs to the historic windows, casings, doors and shutters; and the installation of a new climate management system. The Petersen House will reopen to the public on Friday, Oct. 7, 2011, according to a recent announcement by the National Park Service.
One of the biggest changes to the Petersen House while it was under renovation was the new connection between the House and the adjacent Ford’s Theatre Society Center for Education and Leadership, which will open in February of next year. Visitors will be able to easily travel between the place of Lincoln’s death and the Center’s exhibits on the life, legacy and leadership lessons of the sixteenth president. The addition of an elevator to the Petersen House is also noteworthy, as it will finally allow universal access to the room in which President Lincoln died while still preserving the historic character of the building.
The partnership between the National Park Service and the Ford’s Theatre Society helps bring the historical and cultural experience of the life and death of Abraham Lincoln to nearly one million visitors each year. Ford’s Theatre continues to be one of the most visited sites in the nation’s capital. Connie Milstein has served on the Board of Trustee’s since June of this year. She also resides in Washington, D.C.