Renovated OKC Memorial & Museum to reopen Sept. 16

Monday, September 15, 2014

by Kyle Schwab

The Oklahoman

Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh’s Easter-yellow, 1977 Mercury Grand Marquis now sits in the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum’s newly renovated second floor.

More than 1 million artifacts and pieces of evidence are kept within the walls of the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum.

Whether mangled debris, broken office supplies, tattered clothing, vehicle parts or simply photographs, the museum’s mission of recovery, remembrance and education couldn’t be possible without these visual aids.

ut one key piece of evidence related to the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building has been hidden from the public eye for more than 19 years.

Until now.

Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh’s Easter-yellow 1977 Mercury Grand Marquis now sits in the museum’s newly renovated second floor.

This phase of the enhancements is dedicated to telling the story of the investigation and justice.

“They can watch justice happen within these walls,” Executive Director Kari Watkins said. “You can see the pieces of evidence, you can watch the stories of the trials, you can live through the trials (and) ultimately see what the jurors decide.”

Less than 80 minutes after the explosion, McVeigh was pulled over 78 miles away from the Murrah Building. He was stopped north of Perry for driving without a license plate.

In addition to the car, visitors can see the items McVeigh had on him during the traffic stop. His Glock .45-caliber handgun, a knife and his driver’s license are displayed in front of the car.

He was arrested on traffic and weapons offenses. Investigators realized he was the bomber a few days later.

“It was the key piece of evidence and the turning point that made the story whole,” Watkins said pointing to the car, still in its original state, dings, bumps, and without the car tag.

The vehicle had been stored at an FBI warehouse until a few years back, she said. The museum then took control of the car with one problem: getting it into the building.

Luckily, another part of the enhancements helped with this problem.

A 40-foot, glass overlook now creates a seamless connection between the museum and the memorial outside.

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