Friday, December 26, 2008

Cultural Nudges: Heritage and Museums

After seven years of service, Cole, the longest-serving chairman in the 43-year history of the NEH, is leaving to head the American Revolution Center at Valley Forge. America has thousands of museums, including the Studebaker National Museum (South Bend, Ind.), the Packard Museum (Dayton, Ohio) -- yes, Virginia, there was a time when automobile companies were allowed to perish -- the Hammer Museum (Haines, Alaska), the Mustard Museum (Mount Horeb, Wis.) and the Spam Museum (Austin, Minn.) featuring the sort-of-meat, not the Internet annoyance. There is, however, no museum devoted to the most important political event that ever happened, here or anywhere else -- the American Revolution.

Cole says there will be one, at Valley Forge. It will be built mostly by private money, for a tiny fraction of the sum of public money being lavished on corporations. Perhaps a subsequent iteration of "Picturing America" will feature a thought-provoking photograph of the gleaming towers that currently house, among other things, General Motors' headquarters. Looming over Detroit's moonscape desolation, the building is called the Renaissance Center. Really.

Read the rest of George Will's column.

[HT: Robinson and Long ]

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