A Curator Needed

Tam takes a visit to the Indiana World War Memorial and finds a few… err… problems. Part I, Part II, and Part III. Problems such as this:

The bottom piece is labeled as a “US Remington 1917 Rifle”. While it certainly was built by Remington in the United States in 1917, it is a Russian M1891 Mosin-Nagant, intended for the Czar’s armies fighting the Boche. Several technical problems interfered with delivery, however, such as Russia not paying, then chickening out of the war, then falling to fighting amongst themselves in November of that year. Pretty much the only Remington-built Mosins to ever see Mother Russia arrived there postwar in the hands of US doughboys who used them to shoot at Bolsheviks (which is a fine and good thing to do with a rifle.)

Read the whole thing, as they say.

4 thoughts on “A Curator Needed”

  1. I have loved those posts as well. What I would be curious to know is if the museum has made any effort to contact Tam and discuss the inaccuracies she has found. A willingness to improve their display after some pretty funny blog posts would be a huge social media win for them.

  2. I had similar feelings about the Cody museum in Wyoming (Cheyenne?), although not on nearly the same scale. Placards were full of typoes. One display case full of wheellock guns had most of the locks missing. No organization to the place. You’d walk down one aisle, be faced with three branching off at angles, and no indication of which to follow to see everything in any semblance of order. Some of the exhibits didn’t make sense to me. A Garand with everything chrome-plated as a presentation to General Patton was said to be fully functional, but how could it be? Either the chrome plating would interfere, or you would have had to grind everything down so the chromed parts would have the same dimensions. A frustrating time, since they had a lot of interesting pieces, just poorly done.

  3. With so many knowledgeable hobbyists around, I would think a museum could use a “wiki” approach for correcting and upgrading their information on almost anything, but especially guns. They wouldn’t necessarily have to include all the information thus received, just pursue the best for the sake of accuracy.

    Of course, recognize that many museums are operating on a shoestring in terms of money and volunteer resources.

    I will comment that inaccurate identification and terrible maintenance and upkeep of guns by small museums is something that has grated on me since my early teens, more than 50 years ago. I’ve seen it everywhere. There seems to be an attitude that an old, rusted (in the display case) gun is more authentic than the same gun would be in good condition. If that attitude prevailed in the art world, we’d have none of the old masters to look at.

  4. I know some people who work the small-scale museums and they do it out of love of history. They cannot get it all right, all the time. My experience – the one or two times I saw something I recognized to be incorrect – was that they wanted to get it right. They redoubled effort to fix it.

    Don’t know if Tam has approached them, or if someone has pointed the staff to her posts. I bet they’d fix it.

    Or even make her the curator she thinks they need. I don’t know her personally, but it sure seems like she’d be a good fit. Even if remote.

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