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FW: Closing of the IL State Museums facilities - oppose


When an agency closes a museum it also closes its mind to how they got to where they HAD to close their cultural entities and all previous heritages are lost to the future.

IF we don’t know where we have come from we do not have a bearing on where we are going and possess no more advantages to demonstrate to this and future generations the how, why, when, where, what and who preceded them and made/created the environments, both social and natural, they inherited, both good and bad, and how we might do better, live better and maybe plan better.

Therefore, a museum is NOT just about the past, it will ALWAYS have ramifications for the future. Without the spirit that goes into their interpretive presentations the spirit for respecting and appreciating the importance of history, whether that be natural, cultural or encouraging a single member of society to pursue the answers to benefit humanity as a whole are lost in the instant of a single generation.

There are ALWAYS opportunities to modify, consolidate and/or institute innovative changes that could save the core mission(s) and preserve, present and promote the facilities under your care.

“In the end we will conserve only what we love – we love only what we understand – we understand only what we are taught”, Dioum Baba

Respectively submitted,

Calvin B. Smith, President/CEO

Legacy Museum Consulting, LLC

1747 Newton Rd.

Pueblo, CO 81005

NOTE: This was done just as my original website was lost in cyberspace in 2013.

One of the reasons I have been absent from additional blogging on our Legacy website has to do with my current project.

In January of this year old friends, Doug and Ellen Miller, asked if I would help them accession their collection(s).

I met them while I was at Baylor in the ‘80’s shortly after they opened UNIVEX in Waco. Their firm made a multitude of specialty binders, although they did make commercial 3-ring notebooks, they also produced large quantities of other kinds of high quality printed boxes for TV and movie series, instructional programming, etc. We became friends immediately as Doug was a true sportsman having been on the boards of Safari Club International and Ducks Unlimited as well as other state and local conservation organizations. They were also supportive of the Central Texas Regional Science Fair where I served as director. They also had their own museum, Wildlife World Museum in Monument, CO. They asked me to do a MAP (Museum Assessment Program as part of the offerings by the American Association of Museums). I was blown away and completely in awe of the quality of not just the taxidermy exhibited but also of the accompanying fine art that supplemented the interpretive presentations. They eventually closed the plant in Waco as well as the museum when Doug’s parents retired but we kept in touch and even talked about my assisting in putting together a traveling exhibit of some of their collection, especially the wood carvings.

Now you have to see the “carvings” in person to truly appreciate the art form that has evolved over the past half century. When I walked into their museum I thought I was looking at two Great Blue Herons taking off in flight that had been taxidermied (once live specimens that had been mounted in that position) with the top one being about nine feet from the floor BUT they were carved wood! Each feather intricately shaped and painted which created the ultimate and immediate appreciation for not only the birds but also for the artist.

The Millers have one of, if not the largest collections of wood carvings in private hands and have regularly shared their pieces with museums across the continent and as far away as Japan and as I learned wanted me to write a book about the “decoy” portion of their collection. I started taking individual photos of the entire assemblage including flat art, sculpture, mounted specimens and other objects the first part of February of this year. By the time I finished in July averaging about 10 hours/day 6 days a week I took almost 20,000 digital images of over 5,000 pieces (actually there were quite a few more as many were A's and B' and even C's, etc. as pairs or “rigs”;). I recorded as much information about each one as was available at the time and put a unique accession number on each item for inclusion into the computerized Past Perfect program.

We have recently met with a publisher and have a working title, From Decoys to Decoratives: The Development of America’s Original Art Form with a possible sub-title of, A Museum in a Book, as we will hopefully be able to include the entire collection on CD’s in the back. It has now taken on a greater scope with the first effort becoming two volumes and possibly two more in the works but more about that later.

I am now reading, researching and writing with a projected delivery of the first draft of volume one by December, 2014.

NOTE: This was my first Blog done shortly after I re-retired (from NMJC Western Heritage Museum Complex in 2012)

Did you know that “PALEO” is now a trademark?

I went into the local health food store with wife Sylvia a few days ago and there it was!

PALEO MAGAZINE ™ MODERN DAY PRIMAL LIVING….I couldn’t help myself….I had to get the August/September, 2012, Vol. 2, Issue 3 edition. Now, I know what you all are thinking….that I had no clue…and you would be right.

I had no idea that there was/is a “movement” back to Paleo living…. “a journey of ancestral health continuing down its evolutionary path to help people regain their health and their lives”.

I found to my amazement the numerous fab ops to change the way you eat, sleep, deal with stress, exercise and even what you have in your house as well as everything you consume is produced in an ethical, sustainable way.

Now don’t get me wrong I’m all for conservation of our natural resources since we don’t have any more and/or “eating organic” (sometimes whether I’m ready or not depending on what wife Sylvia puts on the table) but I’m am a little taken aback by the possibility that we want to revert to a 40 (OK, I’ll give you 45) year life-span.

I am most fortunate, being much closer to 72 than 71 and only taking a daily multi-vitamin and an occasional “regulatory” supplement, I am in, as the old man used to say, “great shape for the shape I’m in”, but, my best years, at least most productive years, have been since I reached 45! I went to Baylor at 43 and NMJC at 66 and now re-starting Legacy with all that experience behind me helping push my thoughts/goals up the proverbial.

Myself thinks a whole lot of our world is for promotional reasons today, e.g. their Paleokit, Paleo market (“at last, we meat”;), “The Dig” editorial, the “Latest in Paleo”, “Everyday Paleo” and “Paleo Solutions” podcasts, the 21st Century Caveman, Paleo treats, Primal Pac jerky, energy Paleo bars, trail mixes, including Paleo Krunch and of course “Paleo Indulgences”, including cheesecake and baked donuts. The immediate image of Paleo people sitting around the campfire complementing the chef on the baked donuts is…to put it mildly…mind boggling. By the way there is also gluten free, grain free, dairy free, salt free with zero trans-fat “Paleo People” vacuum packed snack packs.

My, my, how we have changed…from the way humans have survived major glaciations, droughts (we are experiencing only a blip in the history of climate change) and other dangerous/catastrophic environmental challenges to, and maybe especially, in the way we are learning that artificially produced chemical alterations to the human body are mostly harmful in one way or another thus spawning “Paleo” movements that bring more awareness and consciousness to our world and that is good.

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