Ford's Theatre to Curtail Display of Lincoln Coat

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Officials at Ford's Theatre have decided not to put on permanent display the embroidered overcoat Abraham Lincoln wore the night he was assassinated in 1865.

The theater, on 10th Street NW, had wanted to exhibit the bloodstained coat in a special protective glass case in the lobby, where it would have been visible through the windows 24 hours a day. The coat, its lining embroidered with the phrase "One Country, One Destiny," was to be a signature element of the theater's renovation and the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth next month.

But some textile conservators expressed concern, saying the coat was too old, too fragile and too famous for long-term display.

The theater has been closed since August 2007 for the renovation. Among other things, it is getting new heating and air conditioning systems, seats, stage rigging, dressing rooms and elevators, as well as a new control room, gift shop and conference room. Its grand reopening ceremony is set for Feb. 11.

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