An article published yesterday in the Globe, brought us up to date on the recent developments concerning the restoration of the Union Depot and the potential plan to move the Joplin Museum Complex (JMC) to the site.
The current news is still pretty much the same news from a couple weeks ago. A group of the Museum Board’s members were given a tour of the depot by architect, Chad Greer, and city manager, Mark Rohr. The tour was an extension of the proposal pitched by Mr. Rohr near the middle of March. In response, the board, represented by Allen Shirley, declared that the JMC board planned to have a meeting on April 12, 2011, to discuss whether further study would be needed concerning the plan.
We are unsure if this means that the JMC board wants further study because they favor the plan or if it means they want further study to be convinced to go along with it. Given the history of the board over the last year, our inclination is toward the latter of the two theories.
We strongly urge the board members to press ahead with the plan. True, the removal of the museum from its present location at Schifferdecker Park would be one of the boldest moves by the JMC since its inception and move to its current home. True, as well, the JMC did try to occupy Memorial Hall, a plan which seemed to spring from the left field of Miner’s Park and was largely unsupported. Here’s the chance for the JMC to at least resume the energy of its failed proposal and to align it with the popularly supported idea of moving to the Depot. One would like to think that in such a scenario, everyone wins.
For the moment, however, the history of Joplin remains for the most part hostage to an organization that has yet so far proved as immobile as its mineral displays toward ideas that have not originated from its own body. The very collections which the JMC haphazardly safeguards were donated and initially overseen by those passionate about Joplin and passionate about Joplin’s history. One would like to think that they would support a move which would benefit the museum by placing it in one of the remaining architectural treasures of the city; a building which was once a symbol of progress and can be again as a foundation for the continuing restoration of north Main Street. It’s time to shake off the collected dust of decades and be bold.
Brown, March 30th 2011 |
A step forward or a step backward may be the result of today’s meeting of City Manager Mark Rohr and Architect Chad Greer, with the boards of the Joplin Museum Complex. As reported here in the Joplin Globe, Rohr and Greer will put on a presentation with the hope of convincing the board members to affirm the hope of moving the Joplin Museum Complex to a restored Union Depot.
We wish Mr. Rohr the best of luck, but given the past attitudes of the board members, as well Museum Director Brad Belk, the presentation will likely be falling on deaf ears. While the city controls the purse strings which fund the museum, the city council so far has been unwilling to exert much in the way of pressure on the museum on what would be a spectacular combination of locating Joplin’s history inside Joplin’s history.
The reluctance to use the Depot as a new home for the museum stranded on the edge of town is akin to the same apathy which resulted in the destruction of many of Joplin’s most treasured architectural features. It’s far easier to cast an old building onto a rubbish heap to join others than to envision it as part of a brighter and more imaginative future of the city.
Brown, March 17th 2011 |
Earlier this week, the Joplin Globe ran a story concerning a request for photographs of the Union Depot. As part of the growing movement to renovate the Union Depot, architect Chad Greer has requested of the public any and all photos of the Union Depot’s interior. A visit to the Depot will reveal that there is very little left in the old train station at the moment, much of it stripped during the previous attempt at renovation. For links to some interior photographs and a video walk through of the interior, see this previous post.
In the realm of restoration, the goal is to achieve the closest resemblance to the past as possible. Achieving that aim can also be expensive, hence the need to know exactly what you’re trying to accomplish. For those who might have interior shots of the Union Depot, see the first link for contact information with Mr. Greer. Importantly, you don’t have to relinquish those family photographs, either, Greer and his associates can make a copy of your photograph and let you keep the original. An additional aspect of this request is to build up a photographic archive as a historic collection, something we naturally applaud.
Got a Photo of the Union Depot's Interior? Help 'em out!
Brown, July 29th 2010 |