If you find yourself roaming the streets this Inaugural weekend without a ticket to a fancy ball, I suggest you wander up to the third floor of the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. It’s since been renovated, of course, but it was the space where Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural ball was held. Get this: tickets to Lincoln’s ball cost $10 and admitted a gentleman and two ladies. Scandalous. An extravagant midnight supper was served and apparently the food ended up slopped on the dance floor.
The museum is holding inauguration-themed tours throughout the weekend to tell the story of the third floor and other presidential and inaugural-themed pieces in its collection. Some highlights include a Steinway piano (the 100,000th produced by the company) painted by American impressionist Thomas Wilmer Dewing that was gifted to the White House during Teddy Roosevelt’s administration and a cabinet full of White House china.
* Tours today at 2 p.m., January 16 at 2 p.m., January 17 and 18 at 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. and January 21 at 6 p.m.