Survivors hope Oklahoma City bombing museum updates will tell story to a new generation

Announcement is made Monday that the “9:03 Fund” campaign for the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum has reached its halfway point. Survivors say the new enhancements will touch more lives.
by Bryan Painter Modified: November 12, 2012 at 10:45 pm •  Published: November 13, 2012

photo - Survivor Florence Rogers holds her hand over one of the letters recovered in the rubble that used to hang on the  exterior and identify the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
Survivor Florence Rogers holds her hand over one of the letters recovered in the rubble that used to hang on the exterior and identify the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. NATE BILLINGS - NATE BILLINGS

On Monday night, Florence Rogers, a survivor of the April 19, 1995, Oklahoma City bombing, gently touched a battered letter “A” with her right index finger.

That letter, as well as others on the table before her, had spelled out the name on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building where she had worked.

“You know what I'm thinking when I do that, ‘Oh my God, it's a miracle, that I'm here today,'” said Rogers, who worked in the Federal Employees Credit Union.

The bombing resulted in the deaths of 168 people.

In May, the Oklahoma City National Memorial Foundation unveiled plans for an updated museum that foundation officials said will better tell the story of the bombing to all generations, through video technology and with items that were not previously available, including letters from the exterior of the Murrah Building.

The “9:03 Fund” was created to support this, and the project is in the early design and fundraising stages. However, on Monday night, with Rogers looking on, memorial officials announced that they have reached the halfway point in their $15 million campaign. About $5 million of the $15 million is being raised for capital improvements.

The announcement came as museum designers Patrick Gallagher and Michal Carr, along with architect Hans Butzer, gave tours to several of the original 350 members of the task force that helped create the memorial and museum and donors who have helped fund the privately funded memorial and museum and the 9:03 Fund Campaign.

The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building occurred at 9:02 a.m. April 19, 1995. At 9:03 that morning, the responsibility of remembering and educating began, said Kari Watkins, executive director of the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum.

New storytellers

The enhancements would include the scope of the criminal investigation surrounding the bombing and will be told through video, technology and artifacts, Watkins said. Many of these items were not available in the past because of the investigation.

Also with the enhancements, the museum will introduce more than 100 new storytellers through video and technology — including many of the prosecution and defense teams from the trials.

“This story also teaches the consequences of choices made, both good and bad, and visitors will see that throughout the museum,” Watkins said.

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by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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