OKLAHOMA CITY – Changes are coming to the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum.
Memorial officials announced Monday night they are halfway to their goal of raising $15 million.
About $10 million of that will be for their endownment and the other $5 million will go toward updates at the museum.
Monday night, they gave donors and members of the original task force a sneak preview of those changes.
Much of the changes revolve around a large part of the story that’s been missing from the museum, the story of the prosecution of those responsible and how justice came about.
They are artifacts never before seen by the public.
Locked up as evidence for years, they’ve now been handed over to the memorial for all to see.
They include the shirt Timothy McVeigh wore that fateful day, the panel that he stood against for his mug shot in the Noble County jail and even the sign of the hotel he stayed at in Kansas.
“The Dreamland Hotel is now out of business and they gave us their sign and we have it in storage and it will become this entire space,” Kari Watkins said, Executive Director of the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum.
McVeigh’s getaway car, a 1977 Mercury Marquis is being restored and will sit inside the museum.
They also have the letters that once adorned the front of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building.
Florence Rogers, a bombing survivor, saw those letters for the first time Monday night.
“What I think is, “Oh my gosh, it’s a miracle that I’m here today,’” Rogers said.
Rogers was president of the Federal Employees Credit Union at the time.
She was holding a meeting when the bomb exploded.
Everyone in that meeting died, except her.
She believes the new evidence being part of the memorial is a good thing.
“I remember initially nobody wanted to have that part as an involvement in the memorial but now it becomes more important,” Rogers said.
The original museum designer, Patrick Gallagher, is back on board for the changes.
“People want to understand that story,” he said. “It’s not morbid curiosity, it’s pure human nature. How did it happen? How could it happen here? Who were these people?”
“I’m excited that they’re doing this and keeping the story alive,” Rogers said.
Museum officials said they want to strike a balance between learning how this happened while still keeping much of the focus on those most affected by the tragedy.
Memorial officials said moving forward, they also have the challenge of reaching an entire audience that wasn’t alive when the bombing happened.
They’ll be adding a lot more interactive exhibits and more technology both inside and out.