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Fort McHenry opens new Visitor and Education Center

After nearly 200 years, Francis Scott Key has come back to Fort McHenry.

A life-sized bronze statue of the Maryland lawyer who wrote "The Star Spangled Banner" stands in the $15 million Visitor and Education Center that opens Thursday. Other elements include a film told from Key's perspective and touch-screen panels providing details about his life and views.

It's a fitting tribute to man whose words help draw about 650,000 visitors a year to the site of the 1814 Battle of Baltimore at the tip of Locust Point, said Vincent Vaise, chief of interpretation for Fort McHenry. And it's more fitting for the focus to be on Key than on Dr. William Beanes, a lesser-known...