Maryland Honors Lincoln’s Legacy This Month

Statewide events and exhibits commemorate the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination


Connie Yingling,
Leslie Cox,


BALTIMORE (April 1, 2015) – Celebrate the life and legacy of President Abraham Lincoln, as Maryland observes the 150th anniversary of his assassination with events and commemorations. President Abraham Lincoln had led the country throughout the Civil War, and on April 9, 1865 the war finally came to an end. Only a few days later on April 14, John Wilkes Booth would mortally wound Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. Following the attack, Booth fled through Maryland on horseback with a co-conspirator, eventually crossing the Potomac River into Virginia where he was surrounded and then killed. One-hundred-and-fifty years later, the state is remembering Lincoln with events highlighting his life and how the nation reacted to his death.

“This month gives us a chance to celebrate the legacy that Lincoln left behind, but also to explore the dramatic events experienced by Marylanders 150 years ago,” said Bill Pencek, acting assistant secretary, Maryland Division of Tourism, Film, and the Arts. “Maryland has many exhibits and events throughout the state, which will allow visitors and residents to dig deeper into the history of our state.”

Below you’ll find various events commemorating the 150th Anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination along with Civil War sites throughout the state.

Western Maryland

The City of Hagerstown and the Bridge of Life Church will collaborate to mark the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War. A special screening of Stephen Spielberg’s “Lincoln” will take place on April 17.

See remains of a small Union fort in Oakland Md. Confederate rangers captured and burned the fort before proceeding to burn the B&O Railroad bridge over the Youghiogheny River during a raid. Remains of the fort are accessible today via a path parallel to the river.

Capital Region

Visit Gathland State Park in Burkittsville on April 7 for a dedication ceremony for a new marker on the Civil War Trails route, John Wilkes Booth: Escape of an Assassin, followed by a reception. 150th anniversary commemorations will include new exhibits, family-friendly Park Quest activities and special programs.

Illuminating Frederick 1865: from Celebration to Grief is a special illumination, followed by a walking tour of downtown Frederick featuring living history vignettes, which commemorates when residents illuminated the city to mark the end of the Civil War in April 1865.

On April 11, Monocacy National Battlefield presents Bell & History Day with a special temporary exhibit and program that follows the train route that carried President Lincoln on his final journey home. On the same day, head to Emmitsburg to enjoy the Handbell Festival, where handbell choirs from around the region will converge to recall the last address that President Lincoln made—exactly 150 years ago, on April 11, 1865—with performances on the theme of “Gladness of Heart.”

The National Museum of Health and Medicine (NMHM) in Silver Spring is offering numerous commemorative events in April. Throughout the month, Abraham Lincoln: The Final Casualty of The War, an exhibition of items associated with Lincoln’s last hours and the physicians who cared for him, will be on display. April 14-15, the commemoration of Lincoln's death continues with Lincoln's Last Hours, including special lectures and ceremonies, and arts and crafts activities for young visitors. On April 28, NMHM staff will present Remembering Lincoln at the Medical Museum, a discussion of the history of the Lincoln artifacts in the collections.

With multiple events throughout the month of April, the Surratt Society is sponsoring the John Wilkes Booth Escape Route Tour, following the trail of President Lincoln’s assassin from Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., through Maryland, to his death in Virginia. Many of the same roads and houses used by Booth are still in existence and are visited on this 12-hour bus excursion narrated by nationally-recognized authorities on the Lincoln assassination and John Wilkes Booth’s flight.

Central Maryland

Plan a visit to the childhood home of John Wilkes Booth, now a museum in Harford County. John Wilkes Booth, a Bel Air native, was born in a four-room log house in 1838. In 1851, Booth's father built Tudor Hall on their Harford County property as the family's summer home.  

On April 18, don’t miss Lincoln's Life & Legacy in Concert at the historic Bel Air Armory. The performance presents a unique combination of music, stories, and exhibits to demonstrate how crucial the Civil War was to the nation.

Immerse yourself in history at the B&O Railroad Museum with the Grand Opening of the exhibit: The War Came by Train: 1865 - The Lincoln Funeral Train, on April 18-19. The weekend’s commemorative activities include a re-enactment of Lincoln's funeral train, a hand-made scale model of the Lincoln Funeral Car, an exact replica of Lincoln's coffin, period music and military and civilian re-enactors. A Civil War locomotive decorated as the funeral train and special exhibits will be highlighted through the remainder of 2015. Then, don’t miss the exclusive performance of President Abraham Lincoln The Final Journey on April 21.

Throughout April, the impact of the war on the people of Maryland is told in personal terms in Divided Voices, Maryland in the Civil War, the largest Civil War exhibit in the Maryland Historical Society’s Museum’s 167-year history. The display occupies more than 5,000 sq. ft. and tells the story of the war in three acts: the romantic war, the real war and the long reunion. It also features a “Time Tunnel” with 3-D videos leading visitors back to 1861. 

Tour Baltimore’s Green Mount Cemetery, one of the earliest garden cemeteries in the U.S. and the final resting place of more than 65,000 individuals, including John Wilkes Booth. Booth is buried in the Booth family plot with his name on the family monument. Maps to the most notable graves are available at the cemetery office.

Southern Maryland

Tour one of Maryland’s Civil War Trails: John Wilkes Booth: Escape of an Assassin & War on Chesapeake Bay and experience the story of Booth’s escape through the state. Simply follow the sign of the bugle through Maryland’s picturesque countryside and charming small towns to track Booth to his eventual capture south of the Potomac River. Notable sites along the route include the Surratt House, the Dr. Mudd House Museum and the Village of Bryantown, where Booth pursuers converted a tavern into their headquarters the morning after the assassination.

Experience history through science at the James E. Richmond Science Center’s exhibit: A Global View of The Escape from April 17-18 in Waldorf. The latest digital dome technology and “Science on a Sphere,” will give you a vivid picture of Booth’s escape path. 

See history alive with professional archaeologists on April 18 at Villains, Rebels & Rogues: Archeology and Preservation along the Booth Escape Trail. Witness the excavations around historic Charles County farm Rich Hill and uncover evidence of its 19th century appearance. Local historians will share Rich Hill's connection to the Lincoln assassination and discuss the little known people who lived and worked the farm.

On April 18, take the tour Conspiracy - The Talk of Port Tobacco in Port Tobacco Historic Village, a hotbed of Confederate activity where residents may have been involved in the Lincoln assassination conspiracy. Learn about one of the conspirators who lived and owned a business in town.

Join the Lincoln 150 - On the Trail of the Assassin weekend activities from April 18-19 at the Dr. Mudd House Museum, where Dr. Mudd treated Booth’s fractured leg before he continued his escape. Activities include Port Tobacco Players Theater Production titled, "The Assassin's Doctor,” living history groups, guest speakers, authors, artifact hunting, music performances, Civil War dolls display, dance performances and Zekiah Swamp walking tours.   

Eastern Shore

Historians and authors Martha Hodes and Adam Goodheart will speak at Washington College in Chestertown on April 13 to mark the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination. Mourning Lincoln will discuss the shock and horror that followed the president’s murder and how its legacy lives on today.

Visit Trappe, to find the home of Nathaniel Hopkins, commonly known as “Uncle Nace.” Born a slave, free man Hopkins enlisted in the Union Army and fought in the Civil War. He returned home in 1867 to lead what became an annual celebration of the emancipation of slaves in the region. Today, the town of Trappe still celebrates “Nace’s Day” and recently built a park in his name.

In a display of Union strength during the Civil War, about 4,500 soldiers gathered in Snow Hill in November 1861, to march towards Virginia. Today, Snow Hill is a small town nestled on the banks of the Pocomoke River. Check out Furnace Town Museum, a living heritage museum featuring artisans like blacksmiths, weavers and printers. Join in a public archaeology dig to find ceramics, building materials and stoneware dating back even earlier than the Civil War.

About Maryland Tourism
The Maryland Office of Tourism is an agency of the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts within the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. Visitors to the state spent more than $15.4 billion on travel-related expenses in 2013. During 2013, the Maryland tourism industry also generated $2.1 billion in state and local taxes, and provided 138,682 jobs for Maryland residents.