Monday, September 10, 2007

Real Items Linked to a Real Story

Last July I reported that Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site was in a bit of turmoil.

“America’s most famous theatre” was to receive an $8.5 million face-lift. Though the site would have been closed to the public for 18 months, the upgrades would have been significant. Plans called for the installation of an elevator and new restrooms, as well as upgrades to the heating, air conditioning, lighting, and sound system.

But plans changed when site officials failed to receive an adequate bid from any of the contractors. Not only was the bidding process reopened, but the historic site remained open to the public.

I am happy to report that Ford’s Theatre has finally found a contractor to carry out the renovation.

This story appeared in several newspapers across the country over the weekend.

Most of the museum’s artifacts will spend the next 18 months out of public view in a temporarily storage facility in Maryland. Gloria Swift, curator of the museum, showed the press some of those amazing artifacts, which include the clothes Lincoln wore on the night of the assassination.

“Isn’t that incredible?” Swift said as she uncovered Lincoln’s black silk tie.

“Aren’t these beautiful?” she said of Lincoln’s size 14 shin-high boots.

Swift also showed reporters the president’s overcoat, which she believes rested on the back of Lincoln’s chair as he watched Our American Cousin. Specially made for the second inauguration, it was embroidered with an eagle, shields and the words, “One Country, One Destiny.” Like the other garments he wore that night, bloodstains are still visible.

“It is very chilling in some cases, knowing what you’re handling. And it’s also very exciting because to me the objects are a true connection to the past…they’re not just things. These are real items [linked] to a real story,” Swift concluded.

Click Here to visit the Ford's Theatre National Historic Site website.

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