The Courtroom Today
Mary Surratt & Dr. Samuel Mudd re-enactors
1865 Courtroom Rendering
Military Tribunal Table
Grant Hall Today
Grant Hall Courtroom Public Open Houses
JBM-HH has announced its quarterly public open house schedule 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 following dates in 2023:
- Feb. 4
- May 6
- Aug. 5
- Nov. 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.
HOW TO ATTEND
Members of the community are invited to the public open houses, which are free to attend. In, addition, guests without a Department of Defense (DoD), Federal or AIE (Automated Installation Entry) ID are asked to register in advance for base access.
BASE ACCESS PROCEDURES
JBM-HH 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% Vehicle Searches – except for DoD, Federal and AIE (Automated Installation Entry) ID card holders.
2. 100% ID and Background Checks – all persons 18 years of age and older (without a DoD, Federal or AIE ID) must have a legal photo ID and will be vetted through the National Crime Information Center (NCIC-III) background check system; this process may take 15-20 minutes. Person between the ages of 16 and 18 must present an ID to access the installation.
3. Visitors may save time at the gate by filling out the Request for Installation Access form in advance. Check “Visitor” at the top of the form. In Section A, fill out items 1 through 10; at item 11, check “Event Attendee;” at item 12, write in the date of the open house; and at item 13, write in “To attend the Grant Hall Courtroom open house.” Sign at Section C at the top of the second page. Print both pages and bring the completed form the day of the event to present to the gate guard.
Grant Hall Open House parking is limited to the parking lot by the tennis courts.
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 backpacks or large bags are allowed inside Grant Hall.
● Large groups of 20 or more and those arriving in buses are asked to call the JBM-HH Public Affairs in advance at 703-967-4782 in order to schedule a tour time for the day of the Public Open House.