FORT MCNAIR, Washington, D.C. -- Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall announces its quarterly Public Open Houses 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 the first Saturday of the second month of each quarter. 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 calendar year, the months of the scheduled open houses are February, May, August and November. The dates in 2016 for Grant Hall Public Open Houses are: Feb. 6 (weather depending -- will close for snow, so check the JBM-HH Facebook page for updates), May 7,
Aug. 6 and Nov. 5. Open House hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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.
Members of the public are invited to the Public Open House, which is free to attend. Please be advised, however, that 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.
Additionally, 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.
And, be advised, 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. Individual reservations are not required at this time, but will be required beginning in May of 2016. Information regarding reservations will be forthcoming.
ACCESS TO FORT MCNAIR
● Visitors may enter Fort McNair through the 2nd Street Gate, located just south of the intersection of 2nd Street and P Street in Southwest Washington, D.C. This is the only gate open on weekends.
● Due to the implementation increased access control measures at all Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall gates, 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 Department of Defense, 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
● Visitors may also walk or ride a bicycle onto the installation. A valid photo ID is also required of visitors walking or riding bicycles.
● Vehicle parking is limited to the Officers Club parking lot and in designated parking spaces along 3rd Avenue (please refer to the attached site map)
● Buses may offload visitors in the Officers Club parking lot (next to the tennis courts), but must then proceed to the "car-pool" parking lot located at the corner of E Street and 4th Avenue.
DIRECTIONS TO PARKING AND GRANT HALL
● After clearing security at Fort McNair's 2nd Street Gate, turn right at the first stop sign. Lincoln Hall is on the left. Continue to the next stop sign and turn left on 5th Avenue. Turn right on C Street. Go past 4th Avenue to the Officers Club parking lot (next to the tennis courts). You may park there. Upon exiting your vehicle, walk to 3rd Avenue (on the east side of the tennis courts) and turn left. A historical marker on the Lincoln assassination trial is on the left. Grant Hall is on the left past the tennis courts.
● Groups arriving in chartered buses need to contact the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Public Affairs Office in advance at 703-696-3283 in order to coordinate a scheduled tour time for the day of the Public Open House. Additionally, please forward a group manifest -- no later than three days before the open house -- to firstname.lastname@example.org and provide a group contact name with cell phone number for the day of the event.
● After clearing security at Fort McNair's 2nd Street Gate, turn right at the first stop sign. Lincoln Hall is on the left. Continue to the next stop sign and turn left on 5th Avenue. Turn right on C Street and go past 4th Avenue to the parking lot next to the tennis courts. Buses may offload visitors here.
● Once visitors are off the bus, they are to walk to 3rd Avenue (on the east side of the tennis courts) and turn left. A historical marker on the Lincoln assassination trial is on the left. Grant Hall is on the left past the tennis courts.
● Buses must then proceed to the "car-pool" parking lot located at the corner of E Street and 4th Avenue. First, proceed to 2nd Avenue, turn left and continue to E Street at the end of the Fort McNair peninsula. Follow E Street to 4th Avenue. The "car-pool" parking lot is on the right of 4th Avenue. To retrieve visitors following their visit to Grant Hall, bus drivers will access 4th Avenue from the parking lot, turn left on C Street and continue to the parking lot next to the tennis courts.
● Visitors arriving on foot must travel the same route as vehicles to get to Grant Hall. After clearing security at the 2nd Street Gate, turn right at the first stop sign. Continue to the next stop sign and turn left on 5th Avenue. Turn right on C Street, go past 4th Avenue, then right on 3rd Avenue. A historical marker on the Lincoln assassination trial is on the left. Grant Hall is on the left past the tennis courts.
● For those entering the installation on bicycles, be advised, there are no bicycle racks by Grant Hall. There are bicycle racks next to Lincoln Hall and by the Fort McNair Fitness Center. It is recommended that bicyclists bring the appropriate items to secure their bicycles.
● Photography is allowed of the exterior of Grant Hall, the historical marker and the courtroom.
● Cameras are allowed in the courtroom, but no backpacks or large camera bags.
● Photography is not allowed of any of the residences on the installation or the access control point at the gate.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
● Please see the attached site map for parking information.
● Closures due to weather will be updated on JBM-HH's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/jbmhh.
● For more information, call Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Public Affairs at 703-696-3283.