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Tours of the Trial Room
03-25-2014, 12:28 PM
Post: #1
Tours of the Trial Room
Since our very successful tour of the reconstructed Trial Room at Ft. McNair (thanks to John Elliott's expertise as our guide), Surratt House has received inquiries from people wanting individual or small group tours. We double-checked with our contact, and that is not going to happen.

Because Grant Hall's first two floors are still office space (and because the entire post is a strategic military operation even more alert since the killings at the nearby Navy Yard), plans for the foreseeable future consist of four Open House days during the year when the public will be allowed in.

The first of these Open Houses will be on Saturday, May 3, from 10 am to 4 pm. Others are planned in August, November, and February. As of now, reservations are not required for tours during these Open Houses.

Surratt House does have the name and number for the contact person if one is interested in sponsoring a group tour to the facility.
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05-06-2014, 08:23 AM
Post: #2
RE: Tours of the Trial Room
Laurie asked me to post this account from a Surratt member who visited the first open house at Ft. McNair's trial room this past Saturday.

**************************************

Laurie,

What a wonderful day I had on Saturday visiting at Ft. McNair. Kasey was in the middle of studying for year-end exams but her dad went with me.

For so long I have looked at pictures of that trial room. To actually be standing in the exact spot was absolutely awesome. People were meandering in and out with a lot of interest but we had the opportunity to spend as much time as we wanted and talk to the historians giving the presentation. I think we were fortunate to have a tour that was actually better than a large bus tour. The military personnel on duty were most gracious and helpful.

The two historians there were very informative and gave opportunity for questions and personal conversation. Both of them gave the impression that Mary Surratt was aware of the attempted kidnapping but was totally unaware of any conspiracy. One of them suggested that Mary was stressed from holding down two jobs. Said she was operating the boarding house in the city and working the farm at the same time, having to maneuver between the two locations. I do not recall that these two over lapped one another.

I know that five of the nine judges (?) recommended clemency for Mary Surratt. Has there ever been a compilation or book giving background on the judges and what if anything they had to say about the trial after it was over?

It was a wonderful day and I thank you for alerting me to the open house. I even think that Kasey's Dad is "hooked". Myrtle Raines
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05-06-2014, 08:44 AM
Post: #3
RE: Tours of the Trial Room
I was able to get there for the open house. It was great! Now if the Wok 'n Roll would only hold an open house . . .
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05-06-2014, 10:37 AM
Post: #4
RE: Tours of the Trial Room
I liked Mrs. Raines's comment about needing a book on the trial judges and any comments afterwards. To my knowledge, no comprehensive work has been done on this. Might be a great chapter in John Elliott's planned book??? Or someone could take on the project of doing a full book on the subject???
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05-06-2014, 12:04 PM
Post: #5
RE: Tours of the Trial Room
As far as I know, John and Barry's new book will touch upon this - looking forward to that!

"The Past is a foreign country...they do things differently there" - L. P. Hartley
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05-07-2014, 01:50 PM
Post: #6
RE: Tours of the Trial Room
I'm kind of surprised that there would be much interest in seeing the reconstructed trial room. The general public knows very little if anything at all about the subject. Maybe Redford's movie sparked interest in it. At any rate, I'm glad it's up and running.

Bill Nash
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05-07-2014, 03:18 PM
Post: #7
RE: Tours of the Trial Room
I think that I am safe in saying that The Conspirator movie awakened many people to the assassination and the implications of the military court. I happen to be someone who understands why a military court was deemed necessary in 1865. I also think that people who are keeping up with homeland security, Guantanamo issues, American terrorists, etc. today have figured out that we might need to understand a bit of 1865 background info. If viewing a reconstructed courtroom can do the trick, more power to it.

I will be eternally grateful to an elderly volunteer who gave tours at Surratt House faithfully for years. In the year or so after 9/11, college teachers were sending students to our museum because of that event and its implications for the future. One student asked Margaret (who was then about 85 - and in better shape than I), why John Wilkes Booth was significant. Without hesitation, she said that he was one of our country's first terrorists.

That kid had asked his question in that bored manner typical of the age level and only because he was being forced to provide an answer to his professor. When Margaret came out with the analogy to 9/11, he shut up and paid attention. That's when making history relevant pays off. And, yes, Margaret is still alive at age 98 - just not giving tours anymore.
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10-12-2016, 03:53 PM
Post: #8
RE: Tours of the Trial Room
Thanks to Laurie for sending this information:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall
Fort Myer, Arlington, Va. Fort McNair, Washington D.C.
Henderson Hall, Arlington, Va.

Press Release
Public Affairs Office
204 Lee Avenue
Fort Myer, VA 22211-1199

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: Oct.12, 2016

Contact Leah Rubalcaba – 703-696-3283

FORT MCNAIR, Washington, D.C. – Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall announces its next quarterly Public Open House of Grant Hall’s historic third-floor courtroom, located on the Fort McNair side of the Joint Base in southwest Washington D.C., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5. The courtroom is the site of the military tribunal, held from May through June 1865, of those thought responsible for the plot to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln.

During a 2009-2012 renovation of Grant Hall, which was originally part of Washington’s Federal Penitentiary from 1829 to 1868, the third floor of the building was restored to depict the courtroom as it appeared during the 1865 trial. Courtroom features were recreated based on artistic renderings and written descriptions of court proceedings. Some furnishings and artifacts on display are on loan from the production company of a 2011 historical film about the trial, and other artifacts and documentation are from the National Defense University Library.

RESERVATIONS REQUIRED

Members of the public are invited to the Public Open House, which is free to attend. Guests without a Department of Defense (DoD), Federal or AIE (Automated Installation Entry) ID are required to register to attend. Please access the following link online to complete your registration: https://einvitations.afit.edu/inv/anim.c...60460F7A50

Or go to the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Facebook Events Page at https://www.facebook.com/events/1161101010639598/ , then click on the “find tickets” tab to access the reservation site.

Once you have completed your reservation, be sure to print a copy of your “Confirmation Page” to present to the gate guard on the day of the Public Open House.

If your computer server does not allow you to access the registration site, please email your reservation to usarmy.jbmhh.asa.list.pao-all@mail.mil Full names of all attendees are required, as well as a valid telephone and email contact.

BASE ACCESS

Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall has implemented increased access control measures at all its gates. To enter Fort McNair for the Grant Hall Public Open House, please be advised of:
1. 100% ID Checks – all persons 18 years of age and older must have a valid photo ID
2. 100% Vehicle Searches – except for DoD, Federal and AIE (Automated Installation Entry) ID card holders
3. Visitors are subject to vetting through the National Crime Information Center (NCIC-III) criminal history background check system
4. Visitors must be prepared for additional security measures
5. Gate security measures are subject to change at any time
6. Visitors not adhering to these measures will not be allowed access onto the base

PARKING

Grant Hall Open House parking is limited to the Officers Club parking lot and in designated parking spaces along 3rd Avenue (please refer to the JBM-HH website for a site map)

PLEASE BE ADVISED

● The third floor courtroom is only accessible by walking up two flights of stairs. Due to the historical nature of the structure, the building has no elevator.
● Also, for visitors who may choose to walk onto the base, please know that sidewalks are not available the entire route from the Gate Security Check Point to Grant Hall, so pedestrians may have to walk on grass or on streets at times to reach Grant Hall by foot.
● The Fire Marshal has limited the number of people allowed in the courtroom at one time, so entry will be regulated to adhere to those numbers.
● No back packs or large bags are allowed inside Grant Hall.
● Large groups of 20 or more and those arriving in buses are asked to call the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Public Affairs in advance at 703-696-3283 in order to schedule a tour time for the day of the Public Open House.

FUTURE OPEN HOUSE SCHEDULE

Grant Hall Public Open Houses are held quarterly on the first year, those months are February, May, August and November. The Saturday of the second month of each quarter. During a calendar next Grant Hall Public Open Houses are Nov. 5 in 2016 and Feb. 4, May 6 and Aug. 5 in 2017. Open House hours are 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

For the most up-to-date information on base access, parking information and a site map, go to the JBM-HH website at http://www.army.mil/JBMHH Grant Hall Public Open House information may be found on the front page or under “LINKS OF INTEREST” found at the bottom of the “RESOURCES” page.

Closures due to inclement weather or when mission dictates will be updated on JBM-HH’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/jbmhh

For additional information, call Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Public Affairs at 703-696-3283 during normal business hours.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Laurie adds, "Spend extra time driving twenty minutes south for a tour at Surratt House and a 4 pm program by a reenactor of the USCT 54th Massachusetts on that unit’s history after the Civil War. 301-868-1121 info"
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10-13-2016, 08:59 AM
Post: #9
RE: Tours of the Trial Room
Wish I could make it. I'm going to LA. I won the Breeder's Cup Racing With The stars Elizabeth Banks sweepstakes. Look for me on NBC November 4 and 5.

Thomas Kearney, Professional Photobomber.
New Twitter handle name: @ThomasE_Kearney
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10-13-2016, 09:17 AM
Post: #10
RE: Tours of the Trial Room
That's great Thomas.

Congratulations!

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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10-13-2016, 11:34 AM
Post: #11
RE: Tours of the Trial Room
If you are in a photo with California Chrome please post!
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01-06-2017, 11:19 AM
Post: #12
RE: Tours of the Trial Room
Ft. McNair's Grant Hall open house scheduled for Feb. 4, 2017

Contact Leah Rubalcaba – 703-696-3283

FORT MCNAIR, Washington, D.C. – Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall announces its next quarterly Public Open House of Grant Hall’s historic third-floor courtroom, located on the Fort McNair side of the Joint Base in southwest Washington D.C., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4. The courtroom is the site of the military tribunal, held from May through June 1865, of those thought responsible for the plot to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln.

During a 2009-2012 renovation of Grant Hall, which was originally part of Washington’s Federal Penitentiary from 1829 to 1868, the third floor of the building was restored to depict the courtroom as it appeared during the 1865 trial. Courtroom features were recreated based on artistic renderings and written descriptions of court proceedings. Some furnishings and artifacts on display are on loan from the production company of a 2011 historical film about the trial, and other artifacts and documentation are from the National Defense University Library.

RESERVATIONS REQUIRED

Members of the public are invited to the Public Open House, which is free to attend. Guests without a Department of Defense (DoD), Federal or AIE (Automated Installation Entry) ID are required to register to attend. Please access the following link online to complete your registration: https://einvitations.afit.edu/inv/anim.c...60460F7A50

Or go to the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Facebook Events Page at https://www.facebook.com/events/1161101010639598/ , then click on the “find tickets” tab to access the reservation site.

Once you have completed your reservation, be sure to print a copy of your “Confirmation Page” to present to the gate guard on the day of the Public Open House.

If your computer server does not allow you to access the registration site, please email your reservation to usarmy.jbmhh.asa.list.pao-all@mail.mil Full names of all attendees are required, as well as a valid telephone and email contact.

BASE ACCESS

Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall has implemented increased access control measures at all its gates. To enter Fort McNair for the Grant Hall Public Open House, please be advised of:
1. 100% ID Checks – all persons 18 years of age and older must have a valid photo ID
2. 100% Vehicle Searches – except for DoD, Federal and AIE (Automated Installation Entry) ID card holders
3. Visitors are subject to vetting through the National Crime Information Center (NCIC-III) criminal history background check system
4. Visitors must be prepared for additional security measures
5. Gate security measures are subject to change at any time
6. Visitors not adhering to these measures will not be allowed access onto the base

PARKING

Grant Hall Open House parking is limited to the Officers Club parking lot and in designated parking spaces along 3rd Avenue (please refer to the JBM-HH website for a site map)

PLEASE BE ADVISED

● The third floor courtroom is only accessible by walking up two flights of stairs. Due to the historical nature of the structure, the building has no elevator.
● Also, for visitors who may choose to walk onto the base, please know that sidewalks are not available the entire route from the Gate Security Check Point to Grant Hall, so pedestrians may have to walk on grass or on streets at times to reach Grant Hall by foot.
● The Fire Marshal has limited the number of people allowed in the courtroom at one time, so entry will be regulated to adhere to those numbers.
● No back packs or large bags are allowed inside Grant Hall.
● Large groups of 20 or more and those arriving in buses are asked to call the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Public Affairs in advance at 703-696-3283 in order to schedule a tour time for the day of the Public Open House.

FUTURE OPEN HOUSE SCHEDULE

Grant Hall Public Open Houses are held quarterly on the first year, those months are February, May, August and November. The Saturday of the second month of each quarter. During a calendar year next Grant Hall Public Open Houses are May 6 and Aug. 5 in 2017. Open House hours are 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

For the most up-to-date information on base access, parking information and a site map, go to the JBM-HH website at http://www.army.mil/JBMHH Grant Hall Public Open House information may be found on the front page or under “LINKS OF INTEREST” found at the bottom of the “RESOURCES” page.

Closures due to inclement weather or when mission dictates will be updated on JBM-HH’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/jbmhh

For additional information, call Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Public Affairs at 703-696-3283 during normal business hours.
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01-07-2017, 03:35 PM
Post: #13
RE: Tours of the Trial Room
There seems to be a problem with the registration link above. I also tried to register directly through the Fort McNair website, but that was not successful either, so the issue is with the link on the original announcement. (I don't know if the Face Book link works.) I sent them an email and will give them a call on Monday.
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01-07-2017, 07:13 PM
Post: #14
RE: Tours of the Trial Room
I work at McNair. I can notify them on Monday -

"The Past is a foreign country...they do things differently there" - L. P. Hartley
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01-07-2017, 09:59 PM
Post: #15
RE: Tours of the Trial Room
(01-07-2017 07:13 PM)BettyO Wrote:  I work at McNair. I can notify them on Monday -
Thanks, Betty!
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