As you may have noticed, we’ve been following the latest developments regarding the proposed Joplin Museum move to the Union Depot.
After reading some of the comments on the Joplin Globe’s website and in its “Letters to Editor” section over the last few months, we have questions.
As one Globe reader, posting under the name Av-I-tar, asked, Why are visitors not allowed to take photography in the Joplin Museum Complex?
We here at Historic Joplin hate to brag, but we’ve been in a few of the world’s finest museums. We’ve also visited some pretty crappy ones. The kind filled with arrowheads, poorly preserved stuffed animals moldering away, and a bunch of junk that the “curator” decided to take lest he or she offend the donor. Oh, wait. Sound familiar?
So what’s the big deal? Afraid that professional thieves might take photographs to aid in robbing the museum of it’s “rare” mineral collection? Fearful that someone will attempt to profit from photographs of the exhibits? If you are going to enforce a nonsensical policy, you should at least provide a rational explanation to visitors.
Another issue that keeps popping up and one that we are familiar with: Brad Belk will not allow the public to access, view, or study the museum’s photo collection. We presume his salary is paid by the city. Why is a city employee allowed to deny the public, Joplin taxpayers in particular, access to the photograph collection? The answer given? “No space.”
The museum exists for the benefit of the public. The public should be accommodated, but it seems that Belk has established his own personal fiefdom and serves as the gatekeeper who perpetually denies the public an opportunity to review the city’s photographic history. It will probably remain this way until he retires which will probably be decades in the future because he is firmly entrenched.
Perhaps if we wrote a big enough check we could get access. Instead we hope the folks who sign his paycheck read our comments and those expressed on the Joplin Globe’s website and ask him to reconsider his obstructionist behavior. We’re curious to see if, once he gets all the museum space he desires, he will continue this absurd policy.
At least we have enough time to save our nickels and dimes to write that big check.