By Susannah Bane ’14
On Wednesday, May 9, students from the 10th grade history Core I Honors class ventured to the capital to visit the renovated Ford’s Theatre Museum and take a walking tour of D.C. led by a docent impersonating a detective in the Lincoln assassination.
|Photos by Ashley Holder ’14|
Due to Holton’s convenient location, after a mere twenty minute bus trip, students arrived outside Ford’s theatre. First, students participated in a walking tour of D.C. through the eyes of a docent personifying Detective McDevitt, the chief inspector of the Lincoln assassination. After students were formerly “deputized,” McDevitt led a two-hour walking tour while relaying the chilling events and accounts from the night of April 14, 1865. McDevitt dramatically revealed quotes and statements from witnesses throughout the course of the tour. Despite the 21st century bustle of downtown Washington, students were transported to the frantic emotions of that tragic night. History lurked behind every corner and the tour concluded with a summary of the trials and punishments of the conspirators.
After the walking tour, students returned to Ford’s theatre where they explored the recently renovated Ford’s Theatre Museum. After walking through a replica stagecoach that simulated the cloak and dagger escort of President Lincoln to Washington, D.C., students learned about the state of the country before, during, and after the Civil War. Life-size models and artifacts from the assassination were available for all to see as audio guides explained the various exhibits and displays. With artifacts ranging from the pillow Lincoln last laid on, to the weaponry used by many of the key conspirators, the museum entertained all.
The group then had the privilege of seeing the house across the street—where Lincoln was carried right before his death. Afterwards, in small groups with a chaperone, students were free to get lunch and absorb the activity of the capital.
Student Keara Scallan ’14 noted that “it was interesting to learn that it was a whole conspiracy instead of just Booth assassinating the president.” Fellow student Emma Raynor ’14 exclaimed, “I never knew there were so many historical buildings in D.C. that are still standing.” Samantha Stroman ’14 said “I was impressed at how well our guide stayed in character which fostered the best learning experience possible.”
The excursion downtown brought Core I’s current history unit alive and replicated the tumultuous emotions that haunted post-Civil War America.