Sunday, October 11, 2009

Tough times for the past ...

... I was given the heads up today that the venerable Pioneers Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado, may be a casualty of the shrinking city budget... You can read about the city's woes here. This is extremely distressing to me—not just on a philosophical level, but on a personal level as well: I became a "long distance" member of the museum this summer and was looking forward to some enlightening emails exchanges with some of its researchers regarding the as-yet-unnamed Book #4 of the Silver Rush series...

Of course, Colorado Springs isn't the only city with budgetary woes. Right here in my home state of California and in other states as well, there's agonized slashing and burning (of the financial variety) in nearly every direction. Libraries—another institution that "guards the past"—are also closing left and right, or finding their hours severely curtailed.

Very sad, all in all ... the past is such an easy target, with its ghosts, its books, letters, objects, and images. With all that's going on here and now, who cares about the past?

But, when we shutter the museums and the libraries—the windows to the past—we are, in a sense, blinding ourselves (it's that old "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" business).

Anyhow, here's hoping that some way is found to keep the museum going, and for libraries to find a way to keep the lights burning for everyone.

5 comments:

Camille Minichino said...

There's a bit of good news as the NEW Castro Valley (CA) library will be opening at the end of the month.

One of the activities: 1500 people will line the street and pass 300 books, in a symbolic gesture. It's about a mile from the old to the new.

Ann Parker said...

That's great, Camille! It's wonderful to hear about a community that's 110 percent behind its library...

Kathleen Ernst said...

I hate reading things like this! I remember visiting that museum. Sad times all over. Here's hoping that if they do have to close, it will be temporary. But who caretakes in the interim?

Christina E. Rodriguez said...

It seems unbelievable that they'd close a museum... I'm actually trying to picture it right now and it makes no sense to even my wild imagination. Geez...

Ann Parker said...

Hi Kathleen and Christina...
I had much the same thought(s): Once you close the doors, the experts have to find jobs somewhere else, so you lose a knowledge base that's hard to re-create later...