Photo of Eric Messner as Detective James McDevitt by Gary Erskine.

Investigation: Detective McDevitt

A walking tour that brings history to life!

  • Thursday-Saturday
  • Length: 90 minutes.
  • Recommended for ages 8 and older.

On the night of April 14, 1865, Detective James McDevitt was on duty at the Washington Metropolitan Police headquarters, a half-block from Ford’s Theatre. Just before 10:30 p.m., frantic witnesses rushed in with horrifying news: President Lincoln had been shot at the theatre. Join Detective McDevitt as he revisits the sites and reexamines the clues from the investigation into the Lincoln Assassination Conspiracy. Part of “History on Foot.”

This walking tour of downtown Washington, D.C., makes eight stops. It does not include entrance into Ford’s Theatre. Tours will run through October 29, 2022.

The distance walked is approximately 1.6 miles from Ford’s Theatre to the White House. Wear comfortable shoes.

COVID-19 Policy:

  • Proof of full vaccination OR qualifying negative COVID-19 test. Negative PCR tests must be dated within 48 hours of the performance; negative antigen tests must be dated within 24 hours of the tour. Rapid at-home tests conducted on-site will be accepted. Please allow for extra time in advance of the tour should you consider taking a test on-site.
  • Any ticketholder who does not meet Ford’s Theatre health and safety requirements will be denied entry.
  • For detailed safety policies, visit


Richard Hellesen


Mark Ramont

Virtual Field Trips

For information about our virtual Investigation: Detective McDevitt, visit our distance-learning page.

Related Events & Performances

Virtual History on Foot

Can’t come to Washington, D.C.? Let Detective McDevitt come to you! You and your group can now experience our “Investigation: Detective McDevitt” tour online. This program is available for Grades 3 and up and lasts 60 minutes. $100 per session.

Private History on Foot Tours

Private tours of “Investigation: Detective McDevitt” are available by request and based on availability. There is a flat fee of $550 for a private tour for a group of two to 20 people. Full payment is due at the time of tour confirmation. To facilitate scheduling your tour, please be prepared to provide your first, second and third choice of dates and times, the number of people, and a very brief description of your group. We will make every effort to accommodate you. To arrange a private tour, call (800) 899-2367 or email the Group Sales Department.

Generation Abe Night

August 25, 2022 at 6:45 p.m.

Join Detective McDevitt to revisit the sites and reexamine the clues from the investigation into the Lincoln Assassination Conspiracy. Stick around after the tour for a drink or two with other history and theatre lovers, ages 21-40, and Ford’s GenABE staff.

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“A fun way for Washingtonians to explore their city through the lens of history.”

 Roll Call

“This tour was amazing! I could almost feel like a young detective solving Lincoln’s murder. It gave us a hands-on experience that we thoroughly enjoyed.”

Patron Anna B.

“This is a great tour! It’s a close look at the Lincoln assassination, with details on the overall conspiracy that don’t get covered in U.S. history classes. It’s also a nice, easy walk and a way to see the city from a totally different perspective. Fun for all ages. “

– Patron Ann Marie G.

“The history under our feet becomes very apparent when you do a walking tour. I highly recommend it. #HistoryonFoot”

– @HistoriErin


Investigating McDevitt

A Closer Look at the Assassination Investigation Learn how McDevitt led a group of detectives to Mary Surratt’s boardinghouse and how he helped discover several of John Wilkes Booth’s main accomplices within four hours of President Lincoln’s assassination.

The McDevitt Files: Exploring the Lincoln Conspiracy with Matt Dewberry

An interview with Matt Dewberry, an actor who plays Detective McDevitt. The walking tour “Investigation: Detective McDevitt” takes up to 40 visitors on an interactive journey through the facts and faces of the crime that changed America: Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Along the journey, attendees hear about the manhunt to find John Wilkes Booth and the other conspirators.