Sixth Floor Museum Restores Texas School Book Depository Sign. Then Hangs It Inside.
Photo at right courtesy Dallas Times Herald Collection/Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
Got a note today from the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza's Liza Collins saying that the museum has restored and just re-hung the old 2.5-foot-by-17-foot Texas School Book Depository sign once displayed above the Elm Street entrance to the building. Removed n the '70s and stored by the museum since '83, it's been restored courtesy an American Heritage Preservation Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Per its website, the IMLS gave the Sixth Floor folks $150,000 last year to "implement a comprehensive two-year cataloguing project that will improve intellectual control of its collections and make them available to the broadest possible audience." But Museum curator Gary Mack says this was covered by a separate, much smaller grant.
Says Nicola Longford, executive director of The Sixth Floor Museum, in today's announcement: "As one of the few remaining signature architectural elements from the building's 1960s-era decorative facade, this sign is an important part of the Museum's collection. The sign's prominence in many well-known images is sure to captivate visitors and encourage interest in the building's history."
I was curious, though: Was there ever any thought given to putting the sign back in its original spot? Not really, says Mack, in part because Dallas County owns the building, after all. "And their name is in that spot. When Oliver Stone made his movie, he had to recreate the sign out of wood, and we've been preserving it since we got it in the '80s, so it's not going outside. Artifacts don't get treated that way. It's such a neat-looking sign -- very clean, very classic."
What about the Hertz sign, which came down in 1979 and is in the museum's possession? "We'd love to put it on exhibit," he says. "But it's huge. And we don't have the support structure. We're taking care of it. But who knows."
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