For the past 2+ years we here in Washington, DC have been awaiting not only the election results of the U.S. Presidential campaign, but the reopening of the Smithsonian’s American History Museum. The museum will finally reopen its doors once again to the public on Friday November 21, 2008. The opening celebration will include a “festival” – a weekend chock full of family programming. As very clearly articulated on the museum’s website the renovation will be a “transformation” of what was once a dated, dark building. Possibly the most striking new feature is the atrium skylight opening up the center of the building on all levels, finally allowing natural light to highlight the visitors experience.
The renovation will dramatically transform the museum and create new ways to present the objects of our nation’s past. The building will be much easier to navigate with a central staircase between the first and second floors. New and improved features include 10-foot-high artifact walls on both the first and second floors showcasing some of the museum’s 3 million objects, a new welcome center, a state of the art exhibition hall for the Star Spangled Banner and new museum stores. The transportation hall will encompass nearly 26,000 square feet, includes 340 objects, and features 19 historic settings in chronological order. America On the Move is still a popular favorite at the museum. As an opening bonus, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address will be on view from November 21, 2008 through January 4, 2009.
For more information about the renovation and reopening, visit the museum’s website at http://americanhistory.si.edu/index.cfm