Abraham Lincoln's Overcoat Returns to Public Display at Ford's Theatre

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Artifacts associated with famous people and events are important visual connections to the past, and one of them—the coat Abraham Lincoln wore to Ford's Theatre on the night of his assassination—is returning to the Theatre for public display. Where has it been?

The answer is found in one of the dilemmas facing curators and managers responsible for historical objects: What's more important, maximum protection for artifacts or public access?

In the case of the Lincoln overcoat, it's spent the past several months in conservation storage, where better controls of factors such as temperature, humidity and light can help lengthen the life of such objects. A replica of the Brooks Brothers coat has been on display at Ford's Theatre since June 2010.

Abraham Lincoln’s wool overcoat, worn to the Theatre the night of his assassination, will return to its display in the Ford's Theatre Atlantic Lobby on February 9, 2011—just in time for the annual commemoration of Lincoln's birthday on February 12....

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