National Park Service Plans to Partially Re-Open Martin Luther King, Jr., Birth Home in Early 2017
Contributed By: National Park Service
ATLANTA – After temporarily closing the childhood home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in August for safety reasons, the National Park Service is optimistic that the first floor will be repaired and re-opened to the visiting public in time for the Martin Luther King, Jr., Day holiday weekend in January.
In August 2016, a crack was discovered in the sub-floor of the Birth Home at Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site, which caused the first floor of the century-old house to sag. Upon a thorough professional assessment it was subsequently determined that the entire floor was in danger of structural failure. As such, public tours of the home were suspended and the building was temporarily closed until a plan could be put in place to ensure public safety and preserve the historic integrity of the building. The home, built in 1895, is a vital resource of the park and is a popular attraction for visitors.
The National Park Service has subsequently completed a repair plan and anticipates re-opening the first floor of the home in time for the annual events surrounding the January 16, 2017, federal holiday designated to celebrate the life and legacy of the late Civil Rights leader. In the meantime, the National Park Service is conducting a comprehensive assessment of other repairs needed for the entire structure. Based on those findings, future plans will be developed to address all other structural issues.
“We are hopeful that the first floor of the Auburn Avenue home can re-open in January in time for King Week,” stated Superintendent Judy Forte. “We are also excited that a full condition assessment of the entire home is scheduled so that we can ensure the preservation and protection of this national treasure for future generations.”
While the Birth Home is being repaired, the National Park Service is pleased to offer park visitors several other opportunities within the Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site to learn about Dr. King’s early life. A virtual ranger-led presentation of his Birth Home, the "Birth Home Story," is available to guide visitors back to the time of Dr. King's childhood in the Sweet Auburn community where he was born and raised for the first 12 years of his life.
Visitors may also view large photos of the interior of the Birth Home at the Eastern National Museum Store (497 Auburn Avenue), enjoy the outdoor wayside exhibits along the Birth Home block to learn more about the Sweet Auburn neighborhood, and watch a 20-minute film entitled “The Birth Home Story” at the visitor center.
Other significant resources for visitors include the Historic Fire Station No. 6, the King Center (including Freedom Hall and the gravesites of Dr. and Mrs. King), and the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, the spiritual home of Dr. King. Visitors are encouraged to stop at the park’s visitor center located at 450 Auburn Ave, NE, Atlanta, Georgia, 30312 to view a full list of daily interpretive activities before exploring the park.
For more information, please visit www.nps.gov/malu and follow us on Twitter @MLKJrNHSNPS, Facebook MartinLutherKingJrNPS , Instagram @martinlutherkingjrnps and YouTube @ mlkjrnhsnps.
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