Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall announces its next quarterly public Open House of Grant Hall’s historic third-floor courtroom, located on the Fort McNair side of the Joint Base in Southwest DC, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 5. 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 DC’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. Guests without a Department of Defense (DOD), federal, or Automated Installation Entry (AIE) ID are asked to register in advance. Please access the following link online to complete your registration; or go to the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Facebook Events page at and access the Grant Hall Open House site. Click on the “find tickets” tab to access the reservation site.

If your computer server does not allow you to access the registration site, please email your reservation to Full names of all attendees are required, as well as a valid telephone and email contact.


Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall 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 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 background check system; this process may take 15-20 minutes.
  3. Visitors may save time at the gate by filling out the Request for Installation Access form in advance at; Complete items 1-15. (It is important to note on item 15 that you are attending the Grant Hall Public Open House.) Print all five pages and bring the completed form the day of the event.
  4. Visitors have the option of vetting in advance by going to Fort McNair’s Visitor Control Center (building 65 as you enter the 2nd St. Gate) on Tuesdays or Thursdays between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., or by filling out the Request for Installation Access form online and sending it via encrypted email to


Grant Hall Open House parking is limited to the parking lot by the tennis courts and in designated parking spaces along 3rd Ave.


  • The third floor courtroom is only accessible by walking up two flights of stairs. Because of 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 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.


Grant Hall Public Open Houses are held quarterly on the first Saturday of the second month of each quarter. During a calendar year, those months are February, May, August, and November. The next Grant Hall Public Open Houses are Aug. 4 and Nov. 3. Open House hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


For the most up-to-date information on base access, visit our website at

Closures due to inclement weather or when mission dictates will be updated on our Facebook page at

For additional information, call Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Public Affairs at 703-696-3283 during normal business hours.

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