JFK conspiracy museum making way for sub shop

POSTED: 10:26 a.m. EST, December 6, 2006 [cnn.com]

DALLAS, Texas (AP) — Surely an institution that floats the idea of two Lee Harvey Oswalds can blame its closure on a more complex plot than making way for turkey subs.

But the head of The Conspiracy Museum tells a rather bland tale about why its gallery of cover-up explanations behind President John F. Kennedy’s assassination is temporarily shuttering December 30 after 13 years.

“Basically,” says Tom Bowden, the museum’s president, “they’re putting a Quizno’s here.”

Hardly the skepticism expected from a man who’s made The Conspiracy Museum a tourist landmark since opening in 1993 two blocks from where Kennedy was killed.

Bowden plans to reopen the museum in a new building closer to Dealey Plaza on April 4, which, not coincidentally, is the 39th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

He said the new space will double the size of the museum to almost 3,600 square feet and include a bookstore and Internet cafe. The museum also plans to add exhibits on the September 11, 2001, attacks to its slate of theories on the assassinations of Kennedy, King and Abraham Lincoln.

The Conspiracy Museum is not connected to The Sixth Floor Museum, housed in the old Texas School Book Depository building, Oswald’s sniper nest — at least according to the Warren Commission.

Bowden hopes the changes and new location will boost profits at The Conspiracy Museum, which doesn’t break even despite getting about 1,000 visitors a month, he said. He’s made up the difference by lending his time and research to Kennedy documentaries and other films, like one on the idea of cloning Jesus from the Shroud of Turin.

Bowden said the search for a new lease has gone easier than when he first tried finding a location in the mid-1990s, when buildings turned him away because of what he wanted to do with the space.

“People have called us lunatics,” Bowden said. “That’s all right. I get more turnout because of that.”

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