Monday, February 16, 2009

The Long-Awaited Wills House Opening...











...We've seen the construction taking place for years now. We've waited 3 months since the first scheduled opening was postponed. Through it all, we've thought, "Well, they're taking their sweet old time about it and spending enough money! Bet it will be awesome when it is done!"

Guess what? It's not! Today was the last of four days of free admission, The place had been jammed full, with lines all the way around the corner all weekend, so Lori and I waited until this afternoon. I'm glad we went, but I will never go again! It is that bad!

Upon entering the foyer at around 4:15pm, we were pushed into a small area with about 20 other people. We were impolitely instructed by a rude employee to move against the walls and not to block the door. They should be thankful there that no one was a fire marshall, because I don't think they were conforming to codes. She was taking groups of ten on the self-guided tour thatbegan upstairs.I know she may have been tired of dealing with crowds all weekend, but let's say tact was not her strong point! Deal with it, Honey! It will be a popular attraction for awhile this year.

We went upstairs to view the exhibits. My question...Hey! Where's the beef? A bed, a nightstand and a dresser were all that was in the 'furnished bedroom'. A few display with some photos and captions, and the saddle that Lincoln used were the bulk of the exhibits. Some propaganda displays telling the story of Lincoln's stay and the Gettysburg Address, and little else.

Downstairs was another 'furnished room' with a chair a table and a light. A few more displays, and some swivel sconces (that were hung too low. Let's take bets on how long it will take til a globe gets broken!) cap off the educational experienceof the lower level. Really sounds like you are there, doesn't it? You can see more in most antique stores.

Oh, and let's not forget the glass-encased diorama (that hopefully is a work in progress...it has the major buildings in the town, but only about 12 of them, with no houses or anything else.)

On a positive note, the restoration of the house was well done. The color scheme of the wallpaper and such was nice, and the hardwood floors were exquisite.Well done, there!

Let's just say that I wasn't favorably impressed. I'm sure some of my friends who are even more in-the-know than me will be very sadly disappointed. The highlight of this particular trip was walking out the door. I'm glad it was a free day, as I would not have wanted to pay even $6 to see this thing (though I gladly would have paid to get out of it!).

$7.2 million and a few years waiting for this? Another Gettysburg project that showed so much potential, and another Gettysburg project that ended in total disaster!
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