There’s actually nothing connecting the story about designing the new Bill Gates Foundation museum to resemble the Holocaust Museum and the one about the Holocaust Museum’s decision to restrict public access to Nazi records to on-site use when the youngest people directly concerned with those records are in their 80s and unlikely to be planning field trips to the nation’s capital. The Holocaust Museum is a record of human iniquity; the Gates Museum will display human generosity.
Moreover, one of these stories is comic and the other tragic. If the Gates Foundation Museum in Washington State chooses a design with the you-are-there interactivity and role-playing of its predecessor in Washington, D.C., maybe every attendee will have to fill out a grant application, or submit a form 990 in triplicate. Maybe they’ll all have to stand perfectly still for long periods of time while awaiting a response. But no one’s life will be seriously affected.
Whereas if a history museum adopts the secretiveness and arbitrary decision-making often found in philanthropy, real people will be deprived of vital access to vital records of what happened to their real relatives. Not so funny.
Tags: Arts Organizations