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Letters to the LA Times editor on the SW Museum's future

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  • asncalert
    http://www.calendarlive.com/printedition/calendar/suncal/cl-ca- letters1.5feb01,2,6243452.story In her otherwise excellent piece on efforts to preserve the
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1, 2004
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      http://www.calendarlive.com/printedition/calendar/suncal/cl-ca-
      letters1.5feb01,2,6243452.story

      In her otherwise excellent piece on efforts to preserve the
      Southwest Museum's collection ("Working Out the Bugs," Jan. 25),
      Suzanne Muchnic reported that the Friends of the Southwest Museum
      Coalition does not oppose the Autry National Center's conservation
      efforts and implied that the group is concerned only with
      continuance of the Southwest as a "living museum."

      The story omitted key causes of concern for the coalition, a group
      of more than 55 organizations (local, state and national)
      representing hundreds of thousands of concerned people.

      The coalition has sought and has yet to receive from the Autry a
      clearly articulated vision and commitment to the future of the
      Southwest Museum and Casa de Adobe, one that includes preservation
      of the facility as a "living museum," and a display of at least a
      significant representation of the diverse holdings.

      The museum is the embodiment of author, historian and ethnographer
      Charles Fletcher Lummis' life's work in shaping the American West.
      It represents the diversity and complexity of the histories of the
      Native American and Californio cultures, and the role of the Arroyo
      Seco and the city in creating the "American West."

      We ask that the Autry recognize that the nationally significant
      building is itself the largest piece of the Southwest Museum
      collection and for assurance that Los Angeles' oldest museum will
      continue to be a showcase for the legacy of American West cultures
      as envisioned by Lummis.

      Eliot Sekuler

      Mount Washington

      Eliot Sekuler is a spokesman for Friends of the Southwest Museum
      Coalition.

      •

      The Southwest Museum may seem outdated, but to those who understand
      our role in history it is a tangible symbol of the idealism that
      made us the last outpost of Western expansion, which — as the most
      diverse city in the world — should always be part of Los Angeles'
      understanding of itself.

      Nancy Blaine

      Los Feliz

      •

      Maybe the historic and architecturally significant Southwest Museum
      isn't the best place for storage of artifacts by today's
      conservation standards, but that's no reason to denigrate it
      as "hopelessly antiquated." Many museums, such as the Smithsonian,
      have off-site storage in buildings with appropriate environmental
      controls but continue to attract the public by creating a museum
      experience at their historic buildings.

      It's the combination of experiencing a museum exhibition in an
      authentic (historic) location that attracts visitors to the world's
      great museums. Los Angeles deserves the same — our best hope is with
      the city's original museum. It's a no-brainer!

      John Nese

      Los Angeles
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