Lincoln 1860

Lincoln 1860

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Ford's Theater Museum Re-Opens on July 15, 2009

The museum at Ford's Theater is at long last scheduled to re-open to the public on July 15, 2009 after a $50 million renovation of it and the theater which took nearly two years. From accounts I've been reading in various sources, it sounds as if the long wait will be worth it.

In the July 3rd edition of The Washington Post, an article describes in detail about how carefully museum curators dressed a mannequin with the original clothes that Lincoln wore to the theater on April 14, 1865. Lincoln's dried blood is still on the trousers and oil still leaks from his boots even after 144 years. Curators were surprised to find that the fly in the trousers is missing a button and the remaining buttons are mismatched. Completing the mannequin and putting it into its glass display case were among the final preparations before the museum re-opens.

As I reported in January, the beautiful overcoat Lincoln wore that night has been deemed too fragile for permanent display, even in controlled lighting and climate conditions. It will be displayed on special occasions only.

The newly renovated museum will strive to tell more about the assassination and put that event into context of Lincoln's time in Washington. It will display the derringer used to kill Lincoln, the knife Booth used to slash Major Henry Rathbone (the Lincolns' companion that night, along with Clara Harris), a toy sword used by Tad Lincoln, opera glasses used by Mary Lincoln, and the actual door to the president's box from that night.

The "new" Ford's Theater and Museum will be a must-see attraction for people who wish to learn more about Abraham Lincoln and one of the greatest tragedies of American history.

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