The Museum of the Confederacy
In recent posts about the Museum of the Confederacy, James King made what I think are accurate observations about the MOC and its administration. The MOC is catering to those with the money, and whatever unreconstructed Southerners there are who do have financial resources don’t seem to care or have given it up as a lost cause. Leon Puissegur asks what can be done and if we can either take back or disassociate ourselves from this bunch.
I myself was a member of the Museum between 2001 and 2008. Over the years I’ve written many posts in SHNV about the MOC situation and I don’t want to go digging up those very long posts and re-hashing them. Those of you who have been subscribers during that time probably remember my complaints and my battles with director Waite Rawls. I finally cancelled my membership in 2008. When I initially joined the museum, it was to help preserve the South’s history. At the end, I finally decided that I wasn’t going to contribute money for the support of what was essentially a policy of appeasement, and I walked away.
As Mr. King said, those of us who disagree with the Museum’s current track don’t have the resources to fight them. Waite Rawls’ a**-kissing produces revenue for the Museum and that’s the direction that the museum will most likely continue to travel in. We can disassociate ourselves I suppose, as Mr. Puissegur suggested. Most of us have already done that but the Museum doesn’t really care, since folks like us don’t generate revenue.
Without knowing the legal points on the matter, let me throw one thought out for consideration as to what might be done. As I vaguely recall from my history, the museum was founded by Southern ladies who wanted to preserve the South’s memories of the war. During its formative years, the Museum received items donated by Southern families. It was the hope of those families that the memories of those from their families who fought in the war would be preserved. For example, I remember visiting the museum a few years ago and seeing on display, a general’s uniform which belonged to a friend’s wife’s ancestor. Many, if not most of the items contained in the museum originally belonged to Southern families.
Suggestion – if your family donated any items to the museum at any time in the late 19th or early 20th century, call the Museum up and tell them you want those items back. Those of you in the legal profession would have, I suppose, a better idea about whether or not actions like this would carry any legal weight. I’m not a lawyer. But at the very least it would send Mr. Rawls and company a strong message and maybe he’ll lose what hair he has left on his head. When Waite Rawls says he’s going to “tell the whole story,” he’s not talking about the same kind of thing we are.
He is making a mockery of your ancestors. And while he is known to brag about his own ancestors, I believe that were they to return to the living and see what he’s doing, that they would beat him with the flats of their swords. And I’d pay money to sit there and watch.
Bill Vallante
Commack NY