US talk show host decries ‘politically correct’ name change of the Confederate Museum

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A US talk show host has criticised the “politically correct” name change of a Bermudian museum in an online column.

Pulitzer Prize-nominated Les Kinsolving, who hosts a daily radio show for WCBM in Baltimore, takes issue with Rogues and Runners, a Bermuda National Trust property in St. George’s, which was known as the Confederate Museum until 1996.

Mr. Kinsolving writes, in a column entitled ‘Now Banned in Bermuda’ and posted on the Internet on Tuesday, that on a recent visit to the Island he spotted the name change and quizzed museum guide Judith Perry about it.

He says she told him that the name was changed 11 years ago by the trust’s executive committee after “a lot of fuss about Confederate flags”.

Mr. Kinsolving writes that Confederate blockade runners were strongly and widely supported by “Bermudians and their Royal Gazette” in the 1860s and that the name change by the “politically correct” Bermuda National Trust to Rogues and Runners is “incredibly disparaging”.

He quotes a National Trust pamphlet as explaining that the museum was restored in 1996 when a new exhibit telling “the story of these turbulent years from a distinctly Bermudian perspective” was installed.

“Why on earth is it a Bermudian perspective to change the name of the Confederate Museum to Rogues and Runners?” asks Mr. Kinsolving.

He questions who “rogues” refers to “since the blockade runners were Confederates (as well as a number of retired veterans of the Royal Navy)”.

This week, however, Bermuda National Trust defended the name change and said the old title was no longer relevant to the King’s Square museum, which was once the Globe Hotel and the headquarters of the Confederate States’ representation in Bermuda during the US Civil War.

Laura Lyons, BNT’s museum collections manager, said: “The Bermuda National Trust Museum at the Globe Hotel in St. George’s was completely renovated in 1996, including the layout and historical exhibits.

“Our exhibit about Bermuda’s involvement in the American Civil War, now named Rogues and Runners, was completely changed at that time due to professional research and tutorial advice; hence the name change.”

She added: “Perhaps the ‘new’ name does not pleasingly encompass the exhibit for Mr. Kinsolving, but the point is that it had to change as the old one was no longer relevant to the museum.

“The Rogues and Runners exhibit tells the experience of Bermudians and Bermuda as involved in the trans-shipment of supplies during the American Civil War, specifically centred around the fact that rooms in the Globe Hotel were used as offices by Confederate Agent Maj. Norman Walker.

“The museum as a whole also offers a short video on general Bermuda history, information on the building itself and the Trustworthy Gift Shop.

“We wholeheartedly recommend that everyone pay a visit to the museum as accurate history is most valuable when people are able to learn from it before coming to conclusions without first making an effort to gain a full understanding of events of our past.”

To read the full text of Mr. Kinsolving’s column visit

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