Saturday, May 27, 2017

Why Presidential Museums #Fail

Before I start ranting away here, I need to tell you about a special Memorial Day sale here for The Beat on Ruby's Street, which just won the Gold Award from Wishing Shelf Awards last month. The e-book version is on sale for just 99 cents at the following sites between Saturday May 27 and Tuesday May 30.

You can find the 99 cent sale price at the following sites:


Barnes & Noble



Now back to my "regular real" post (as Ruby would say) about presidential museums. I started thinking about them because of Memorial Day weekend and remembering all the people we lost in wars. 

I also started thinking about presidential museums after reading about John F. Kennedy's. It's not that I begrudge a president the right to memorialize or remember. 

And yet... and yet.

Do we really need an ever-increasing number of presidential museums, full of all the tiring paperwork and boring memorabilia we already know about? What do people find at a presidential museum anyway? Picture albums, trinkets, wedding rings, recordings, letters... STUFF, right? 

Do we really need more stuff, presidential or otherwise?

I have never once ached to see what's inside a president's museum. I did go to one of Lincoln's "summer" houses in Washington D.C. once, because my cousin (a native Washingtonian) recommended it; and my husband and I heard some interesting stories and had a good time.

But that was back in the day when presidents really were, um, interesting. And aside from seeing one for Lincoln and a few founding fathers, I'm really good, thank you, and in fact, more than fine if I never see any of museums for presidents. What I really wish they'd do instead is create museums (or maybe just websites?) for people who really built something or sacrificed their lives  for the rest of us, like our troops.

It would also be great to see people who create and created great architecture or art like the Brooklyn Bridge or the people who created all the theaters all over the country. Or a hundred other buildings, books, recipes, businesses and inventions that Americans bring into the world every day. Or a foundation to help people when their money runs out, for whatever reason. 

What if we took all the money we're putting into presidential museums right now and started foundations that offered grants and funding to medical research, libraries, hospitals, children's crisis centers, theaters? 

What if, instead of building a museum in his or her honor, a president said instead, "It's not about me. It's about them."

Meaning the people all over this country that he/she is supposed to be working for.

That would  be something, wouldn't it? Something we really need.

Graphic: Pamela Labbe
Mount Rushmore photo: loomingy1