OKLAHOMA CITY — A key piece of evidence, hundreds of oral testimonies and new artifacts were unveiled Monday at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum dedicated to the deadly 1995 bombing.
The additions are part of a nearly $8 million project that aims to attract a new generation of visitors to the structure, including those too young to remember the attack by Timothy McVeigh on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building that killed 168 people and injured hundreds more.
Detailed information about the investigation of the attack has been added to the museum for the first time. Among the evidence now on display is the 1977 Mercury Grand Marquis that McVeigh was driving when he was pulled over and arrested north of Oklahoma City the day of the bombing.
"People get to see from beginning to end what did happen here in Oklahoma City," said Susan Winchester, the chairwoman of the Oklahoma City National Memorial Foundation, who lost her sister in the blast.
Winchester said victims' family members visited the museum on Sunday and were overwhelmed with the new artifacts and enhanced exhibits.
Patrick Gallagher of Gallagher and Associates, the company planning and implementing the improvements, echoed Winchester, saying the additions will help visitors see the story "come full circle to a justice-served perspective."
On April 19, 1995, McVeigh drove a truck filled with fertilizer and fuel oil to the front of the federal building and detonated the makeshift bomb. He was executed for the crime, while co-conspirator Terry Nichols is serving life in prison.
The enhancements include more than 1,100 new pieces of exhibits, new interactive stations, and video and newspaper coverage.
In one installation, a large map of the United States shows how the bombing reached beyond state lines. One example shows how, before the attack, McVeigh was attending a gun show in Akron, Ohio, while Nichols was committing a robbery in Arkansas.
In another room plays a recording of a water resource board meeting that was taking place the morning of the bombing. The meeting was moving along normally until 9:02 a.m., when an explosion is heard and chaos ensues. A panel then lights up and shows photos of each of the victims killed in the blast.
Emma Dorn, 13, was among a group of seventh-graders touring the revamped museum on Monday. Dorn, who was born six years after the bombing occurred, said she enjoyed watching the videos, looking at the memorabilia and seeing what the building looked like.
The enhancement project, which is 75 percent complete, is expected to be finished by the end of the year.
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