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July 31, 2008

Smithsonian Museum Prepares for Reopening

Roaming actors playing historic characters, a “green” cafeteria that serves locally produced food, and a sunny new atrium that will play host to naturalization ceremonies for new immigrants will be among the new features of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, reports the Associated Press. The museum is set to reopen November 21 following two years of renovation.

In addition to such pop-culture artifacts as Kermit the Frog and Judy Garland’s red slippers from the movie The Wizard of Oz, the made-over museum will include a new gallery spotlighting the American flag. It will also include a temporary exhibit of Abraham Lincoln’s handwritten copy of the Gettysburg Address, which is usually kept in the White House’s Lincoln Bedroom.

“We want visitors to come away with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the American dream and what it has meant to be an American,” said the museum’s director, Brent Glass.

The museum’s reopening was originally scheduled for this summer, but renovation workers discovered asbestos and lead paint, which delayed the $85-million project. The building has been closed since September 2006.