…the least we can do is take their money and run. Or something.
Today was the first day in a while without structured plans and without starting out with a steaming hot morning en route to a 90F high, only to feel even hotter.
So my son and I got on the bike and went to our town’s free museums… yes, the Smithsonian Institution. We’re lucky to have this and I try to remember that and make use of them, for my own benefit, but especially for my toddler’s. That said, I glaze over portions I think I know sometimes… and sometimes I discover something that might’ve been on display for years because I was finally paying attention. Among the nuggets today was a little bit of locking on to a couple of the big donor names behind some of the exhibits, and the politics of those names still being on plaques or carved in stone, despite disgrace or challenging content.
The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (my son calls it the “Dinosaur Museum,") and its Hall of Fossils doesn’t seem to shy away from Climate Change education. I say that because it is the David H. Koch Hall of Fossils and that pig fucker spent a lot more of his money to stop society from understanding and confronting the climate crisis. Either the Smithsonian didn’t agree to any dictates on the substance of exhibits (Koch’s name is also all over a massive human evolution exhibit which seems both accessible and solid, as far as I can tell), or they said “fuck you, Dave,” after he died. I assume the former.
Meanwhile, across the Mall, at the National Museum of Asian Art, once more prominently known as the Freer & Sackler Galleries they’ve changed the emphasis, but have apologized for having to technically keep the Sackler name on the gallery. Apparently, they’d have to give up a bunch of their stuff.
I don’t know the true how and why behind all this, but it sure seems that one museum was better at negotiating a donation and its conditions than the other.
Over at the American History Museum, in General Motors Hall of Transportation, also paid for by ExxonMobil, among others, the electric car does get a mention, as does Ralph Nader… but you kind of have to know the current state of the art and some of the history to appreciate the effort made to get that technology (and its long history!) and, separately, Ralph (a friend, a former boss), included in this exhibit.