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Park Ranger Speaker Series

rangers iconThe Interior Library is proud to present a series of programs on the background and history of sites of interest in the Washington, D.C. region, as well as subjects highlighting the history of the United States.  The 45-minute programs, presented by National Park Service Rangers, are held in the Stewart L. Udall Department of the Interior Building To register for a future Park Ranger Speaker Series program, please click here. For more information about our Park Ranger Speaker Series programs, please contact the Interior Library by phone at (202) 208-5815 or e-mail at

Additional Park Ranger Speaker Series programs will be posted as they are scheduled. Please check this page regularly for changes or updates.

All programs scheduled through 2015 will be held in the John Muir Room, which is located on the ground level of the Main Interior Building.
Appomattox Court House
Tuesday, April 21, 2015, 1:00 pm - 1:45 pm

Appomattox Court House may have symbolized the end of the American Civil War but the story of that site and its surrounding environs was not completely finished. In this small village in central Virginia General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to General Ulysses S. Grant on Palm Sunday, April 9, 1865. After four bloody years of fighting the American Civil War had come to an end. This final campaign between the Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of the Potomac is generally recognized as the close of the American Civil War. Historically known as the Appomattox Campaign or Lee's Retreat, the end of that historical chapter actually began a new chapter in United States lore; that being the creation of the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park. 

Please join Park Ranger Paul O’Brian as he discusses the Appomattox Campaign of 1865 and the events that led to the creation of the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park.

Appomattox Court House

Grand Review in Washington
Tuesday, May 19, 2015, 1:00 pm - 1:45 pm

Following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln in April 1865, the nation's capital was bedecked in mourning crepe.  The last vestiges of resistance, following the surrender of Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia were coming to a close.  By calling for a review of troops from the victorious Union armies along Pennsylvania Avenue, President Andrew Johnson seemingly helped to pull the nation off the mat in order to face the dawn of a new era.  Not one, but two days in May of 1865 were required in order to witness the massive parade of troops who held the nation together in its defining moment.  As they marched through the capital, they were met by the accolades of the appreciative crowds and reviewing politicians, officials, and prominent citizens, including the new President.

We invite you to join Park Ranger Brad Berger as he examines one of the largest and most memorable events ever staged in Washington, DC, the Grand Review of the Armies.  This final parade of the Union armies signaled the return home of fathers, brothers, and sons and the end of the American Civil War.

Grand Review of the Armies 1865

Lincoln Conspirators Trial & Execution
Tuesday, June 23, 2015, 1:00 pm - 1:45 pm

The death of John Wilkes Booth at the hands of federal troops on April 26, 1865, was not the end of the Lincoln assassination tragedy. In the chaotic days immediately following Lincoln’s death, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton led the charge to arrest anyone who had any connection, real or tangential, to the assassin Booth. Scores were imprisoned and most were eventually released.  In the process, the web of intrigue that Booth had created around him came into focus to show that his plan had extended beyond President Lincoln to also include the assassinations of Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William Seward, who barely escaped with his life the night Lincoln was shot. Eight alleged co-conspirators were put on trial and all were found guilty. Four were given prison sentences but the other four were sent to the gallows, including Mary Surratt who became the first woman to be executed by the federal government.     

Please join Park Ranger Heidi Dietze for the story of the trial and execution of the Lincoln assassination conspirators, an event that even today is still a source of much debate and controversy.

Lincoln Conspirators Execution