SMITHSONIAN'S NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AMERICAN HISTORY: Lincoln's famous top hat, brown and glossy with age, is currently on display here in the “Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and the March on Washington, 1963” exhibit (second floor east through Sept. 15). Lincoln was tall at 6-foot-3 and the hat made him even taller. He wore the hat to Ford's Theatre the night he was murdered.
The museum is between 12th and 14th streets on Constitution Avenue NW, is free and open daily. Go online to http://americanhistory.si.edu/.
SMITHSONIAN AMERICAN ART MUSEUM AND NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY: “The Civil War and American Art” (first floor west), on display through April 28, offers paintings portraying what the museum describes as the “transformative impact of the Civil War and its aftermath.” An 1865 landscape painting of Yosemite Valley notes that Lincoln set aside the California wilderness as America's first federally protected park. Other works show scenes of soldiers. Many of the most thought-provoking images depict blacks fleeing slavery or contemplating their new postwar lives. The exhibit includes paintings by some of the era's most important artists: Winslow Homer, Eastman Johnson, Frederic Church and Sanford Gifford.
The gallery is found at Eighth and F streets NW, is free and open daily, http://americanart.si.edu/civilwar and http://npg.si.edu.
NEWSEUM: An exhibit here called “Blood and Ink: Front Pages From the Civil War” displays more than 30 front pages from the era, from the founding of the Confederacy through Lincoln's death. “A Nation Mourns,” reads one headline.
The Newseum is at 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, the former site of the National Hotel, where Booth was staying when he shot Lincoln, http://www.newseum.org/. It is open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $21.95 plus tax ($12.95 for ages 7 to 18).
DINING: Two excellent restaurants near Ford's Theatre are Jaleo, pricey but fabulous tapas, 480 Seventh St., NW, and Teaism, a local chain offering moderately priced eclectic and Asian-influenced dishes, 400 Eighth St., NW. A restaurant called Lincoln, 1110 Vermont Ave., NW, offers a locavore menu and a floor covered with Lincoln pennies.