James Dean Museum Opens in Indiana
GAS CITY, Ind. - A museum chronicling the short life of actor James Dean has opened along Interstate 69 in a spot its curator hopes can attract more fans of the "Rebel Without a Cause" star.
"This is a great thing for Gas City and Grant County," Gas City Mayor Larry Leach told about 60 people who attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for The James Dean Memorial Gallery. "It will definitely put us on the map as far as tourism goes."
The entrance of the art deco-style gallery is a gift shop stocked with postcards, coffee mugs, dolls and T-shirts featuring images of Dean, who died at age 24 in a 1955 car crash.
Other rooms showcase magazine covers, newspaper clippings, books, paintings, movie posters, collector plates and blankets featuring the actor.
Lifelike statues of Dean and fans' scrapbooks from the 1950s are also on display, as well as some items that belonged to the actor — including a class ring and a pair of Lee jeans.
The new museum about 50 miles southwest of Fort Wayne also houses a 35-seat theater that plays television appearances and early Hollywood screen tests.
The gallery was moved to Gas City from the movie star's hometown of Fairmount. Curator David Loehr has said he expects as many as 50,000 visitors each year.