Arts Desk

Obama Dress Goes to Smithsonian; Simpson Suit a Bad Fit

The Smithsonian Institution has rejected one famous garment as it welcomed another. Today in a private ceremony, Michelle Obama will donate her white one-sleeve Jason Wu inaugural gown to the Smithsonian Institution for an exhibit of gowns worn by first ladies to inaugurations. The gown will be available for public viewing tomorrow.

The donation, the first major one from the Obama White House, comes only a week after the Smithsonian rejected another high-profile clothing donation—the suit that O.J. Simpson wore to his acquittal in the 1994 criminal trial for the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and her friend, Ron Goldman. The LA Times explained that Fred Goldman, Ron's father, filed suit against Simpson and his attorney for the suit as part of the $33.5 million that Simpson owes to the victims' families. As part of the settlement, Goldman and Mike Gilbert, Simpson's former agent who has possession of the suit, agreed to donate it to the Smithsonian.

Which would be fine, if the institution actually wanted the suit.

"There were many considerations, but we really just felt like it wasn't appropriate and did not fit with our collection," museum spokeswoman Valeska Hilbig told the Washington Times. Would-be clothing donors, take note: Sparkles and bodices are appropriate, murdery acquittal khaki is not a good fit.

As part of the deal, now that the Smithsonian has rejected it, the suit must be offered to another museum or institute of higher learning (the Washington Post reported Friday that the Newseum is in talks to accept the suit). If the Goldmans are determined to offload OJ's suit on a D.C. institution, a more suitable replacement is just down the street: The Crime and Punishment Museum, which prides itself on its vast collection of murderabilia. And compared to the museum's other treasures, like the Ted Bundy car and John Wayne Gacy's clown paintings, Simpson's suit is downright tame.

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