National history museum gets $85 million facelift
The ruby slippers Judy Garland wore as Dorothy in the "Wizard of Oz" are gone, replaced by a dusty mess of exposed pipes, welding and blown-out ceilings.
Reporters got a sneak peek this week at the $85 million renovation of the National Museum of American History, where demolition is about to be replaced with restoration.
The central corridor of the museum is being renovated from a low-lit and confusing exhibit hall to a showcase featuring such cultural curiosities as the top hat President Lincoln wore when he was assassinated and the home kitchen of famed chef Julia Child.
The Smithsonian Institution museum -- one of many museums peppered on the National Mall -- houses 3 million iconic artifacts, ranging from the obscure to the popular.
One of the museum's most admired pieces is the Star-Spangled Banner -- the 30-by-34-foot tattered flag that inspired the national anthem, written by Francis Scott Key in 1814. It will become the centerpiece of the new atrium.
. . .
One of the museum's most popular collections is of entertainment artifacts, which total more than 94,000 pieces. The objects include the "60 Minutes" stopwatch, Archie Bunker's chair and an "Alien" egg prop used in the 1979 film starring Sigourney Weaver
During the renovations, 150 "greatest hits" artifacts -- including those sequined ruby slippers -- have been temporarily showcased in the "Treasures of American History" exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum.
Glass said he will announce an opening date for the American history museum in February. Original estimates were that thejob would take approximately two years.