Letter to the Editor: Another View of the James Museum
Tampa Bay Reporter does not take editorial positions; however, we welcome debate and publish opinions from others. (Guest opinions and letters may or may not reflect those of Tampa Bay Reporter or of anyone connected with Tampa Bay Reporter.) Today, letter writer Karen Kirkpatrick disagrees with the critique of the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art presented by St. Petersburg lawyer Thomas McGowan. (To see Mr. McGowan’s oped piece, click here.)
I disagree with Mr. McGowan on several counts.
I am finally going to get that degree in Anthropology in about 16 months with a minor in Art History. So I know more than a little about museums, galleries, etc. I spend quite a bit of time in them when I am not studying. I haven’t been to this [the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art] museum yet.
Downtown St. Petersburg is very fortunate to have so many great galleries and museums. I am looking forward to the new American Arts and Crafts Museum opening in the near future and I have been following their progress closely. Living here over 20 years I have been to the MFA and the St. Petersburg Museum of History, the Dali and others many times.
One thing we don’t need in our community is long, wordy articles from an attorney dissing a museum because he feels it is “fake” (seems to be a popular word these days) as it is does not meet his criteria for a museum on the American West. McGowan also feels the “American West” is a misnomer in itself and he goes on and on. No where in the name of the museum is the word historical or history, which is also a field I am familiar with on a personal and academic level.
The Latin and Greek root word for museum is “muse.” Most of us understand “to muse” means to think about. One of the great things about art, archeology, artifacts, etc., is the presentation of and the objects themselves are always subjective. I take it Mr. McGowan must be an expert of some sort when he is not busy crafting lengthy critiques on what should and should not be in a museum or gallery. Being an attorney, perhaps he has a beef or grudge with Tom and/or Mary James. Perhaps he should sign-up to be on their board of trustees or directors. Then, his input can be put to some use. At the very least, he should request the price of his admission to be refunded if he so displeased and put out. I would.
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Photo courtesy of the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art.
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