Lincoln 1860

Lincoln 1860

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Ford's Theater Disappointment At Lincoln Clothing Display

My apologies for the lack of posts for the past couple of weeks. The holidays combined with being under the weather (thanks to too many late nights during the holiday season) have kept me from posting as often as I would like. On to the topic at hand, that being Mr. Lincoln!

Way back on December 28, 2007 I posted an article about the storage of the clothing Lincoln wore on the night of his assassination at Ford's Theater. The theater was undergoing a massive multi-million dollar renovation at the time, and the clothes, including Lincoln's frock coat, had to be safely stored while the renovation took place. The plan was to put the clothing back on display once the renovation was complete.

Today's Washington Post brings the very disappointing news that Lincoln's coat has now been deemed too fragile and expensive to be placed on permanent display. The coat, made by Brooks Brothers with the words "One Country, One Destiny" embroidered in its lining, is stained with Lincoln's blood and was to have been a centerpiece of the assassination exhibit at the theater.

Unfortunately, the coat has deteriorated over the years and textile conservators have advised against a permanent display. However, in honor of Lincoln's 200th birthday, Ford's Theater will put the coat on temporary exhibit beginning February 12 until April 15, the anniversary of his death. After that date, a replica coat will be displayed. The original will remain in storage, to be displayed only on special occasions.

If the Smithsonian's National Museum Of American History can find a way to permanently display the original Star-Spangled Banner, surely Ford's Theater can come up with some method for displaying Lincoln's coat on a permanent basis. Yes, it is priceless and fragile. But it's also an important artifact from our nation's history and it should be available for everyone to view.


Jim said...

Seeing the coat in the basement museum of Ford's was always a highlight of my visit to DC. I'll be sorry to not see it there. I think you are absolutely right. I wonder why they can't find a way to safely display the jacket if they can display the flag.

Overtown USA said...

Georgetown Law Center will feature the Lincoln's Road art exhibit by Chuck Levitan from February 3 - 28, 2009. Check out the website for more info!

Geoff Elliott said...

If we could get enough visitors to Ford's Theater to "complain" about the coat not being displayed, perhaps a way would be found.

This coat belongs to the American people and it belongs on display, not in storage somewhere.

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