Friday, January 25, 2013
Something Else That Belongs in a Museum
This is not really a sports or hockey post--it's a post about museums and preserving artifacts and things of that nature.
In the case of Mike Eruzione, it's very evident that parting with the jersey, the hockey stick, and other assorted paraphernalia are an attempt to create a financial "nest egg" for his children and grandchildren, and so making the decision to dispose of those items through a commercial auction makes sense. He has every right to do this, and he has every right to expect that people who understand history and memorabilia would recognize that right.
However, what's sad is that his items rightfully belong in a museum, and a proper one at that. These items would be a fantastic addition for the Smithsonian and should be added as items related to American sports and sports history. Too often, these items end up in the hands of private collectors or collections that are offshore. Am I off base in wondering if it would be a good thing for a Russian oligarch to purchase them and put them on display in Russia? Should they go to a wealthy buyer somewhere else?
There is a balance between cultural artifacts and items of cultural significance that are worth a great deal of money to a private collector. Given that Mr. Eruzione deserves to be able to live comfortably and pass something on to his descendants, I wish there was a way for the Smithsonian to acquire the items and allow Eruzione the chance to make what he deserves from the transaction. There are examples of this, and sometimes it turns out that museums run by the government can acquire items, but I think that someone is simply going to buy these treasures and then they won't be seen again until they are resold further on down the line.
Things of this nature, however, should be in a museum. Perhaps whoever buys them will agree.