The Flaggers on the Museum of the Confederacy

Here’s an interesting analysis of recent events offered by someone claiming to represent the Virginia Flaggers on a Confederate fantasy blog:

A relevant question might be how’s that “not flying the Confederate flag to attract more people” thing working out for Waite Rawls and the MOC. 18 months after the opening at Appomattox, sans flag, the Museum (by their own admission) was in such dire financial straits that it was forced to sell out to Tredegar to stay afloat.

Let’s ponder the implications of that astute analysis. Let’s say that not flying a Confederate flag has not led to increased attendance. Was the museum prosperous when it flew the flag?  Are the Museum of the Confederacy’s economic problems caused by the decision not to fly a Confederate flag outside of the museum’s Appomattox facility?

Really? Seems to me the Museum of the Confederacy’s been struggling for some time, and certainly before it opened the Appomattox facility, as this 2007 article suggests. So does this 2011 article.

Indeed, one might reason from such assumptions as offered by this critic that it’s been the protests of people like the Flaggers that did not help the struggling museum, and so the MOC now seeks an alternate future which its critics say compromises the institution’s identity as a museum of the Confederacy … which would suggest that the Virginia Flaggers have helped damage the preservation of Confederate heritage.

Now, I wouldn’t make that argument. But if the Flaggers want to take pride in that sort of claim, let them.

Rather, I’d say that the Virginia Flaggers simply don’t know what they are talking about. That would not be a surprising conclusion.

Stay classy, Flaggers.


8 thoughts on “The Flaggers on the Museum of the Confederacy

  1. Betty Giragosian March 22, 2014 / 2:44 am

    Ignorance and hate reign supreme among some folks.

  2. Roger E Watson March 22, 2014 / 6:19 am

    It would be one thing if you had to look really hard to find these stupid statements but you don’t. I would have to go along with Gary W. Gallagher’s one word summation of these people – demented !

  3. jfepperson March 22, 2014 / 7:27 am

    “Rather, I’d say that the Virginia Flaggers simply don’t know what they are talking about.”

    And in saying that, you would be very much correct.

  4. Bob Nelson March 22, 2014 / 10:19 am

    For museums today, just staying in business is a huge challenge. Whether or not the MOC flies a CBF out front is, IMO, rather irrelevant. If they fly it they will tick some people off. If they don’t fly it they will tick other people off. Pretty much a wash. Last year, Pete Taylor, Mike Kiernan and I visited the MOC in Richmond and the one at Appomattox. I was rather disappointed.

    For starters, there really isn’t THAT much to see at either site. The one in Richmond has a significant number of battle flags, paintings, uniforms, swords & etc. but it also has a lot of “open space.” Yes, I know, that’s a common denominator for museum design in recent years. About the only thing I recall at Appomattox is Robert E. Lee’s dress uniform. And one of the pieces I really wanted to see — D.H. Hill’s copy of the “Lost Order” — wasn’t on display at either place. Neither was J.E.B. Stuart’s iconic hat. And I would bet that the stuff on display is rarely changed. Where I work — — we still have enough staff to change parts of the permanent collection on a more-or-less regular basis.

    We also have the 8,000 square foot Lacks Gallery on the third floor which houses special exhibits. Last year, “Titanic” The Artifact Exhibition” drew thousands of visitors. This winter it’s “Dinosaurs Unearthed.” Next year it will be “Real Pirates.” Without these special exhibits, we’d be out of business. Neither of the MOC sites — at least from what I saw — have such a facility. People will not go back again and again to a museum to see the same stuff. It’s sort of a “one and done” proposition.

    • M.D. Blough March 25, 2014 / 2:25 pm

      Finances are one of the issues affecting many, if not most, museums today. The New York Times has excellent ongoing coverage of economic issues affecting museums. The most recent major recession, particularly the collapse of the housing bubble and the closure or merger of major financial institutions and corporations eliminated or significantly reduced what long-time reliable donors could give. In addition, even museums which had what had been regarded as very healthy endowments, took a pounding on the value of their endowments.(

      • Bob Nelson March 25, 2014 / 3:38 pm

        Good article and right on target. One thing it did not mention, M.D., is the elimination of funding from the cities in which the museums happen to lie. Six years ago, the Grand Rapids City Commission decided they could no longer afford the $2 million award to the Public Museum and cut us loose. We have managed to survive by membership drives, cutting staff some 20+ percent and having great traveling exhibits such as “Titanic: The Artifact Collection.” In the long run, Internet will kill us all. Who wants to come see a Finback Whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling in the main gallery when they can Google “finback whales” and see them alive and swimming in their natural environment?

        I recently saw a list online (go figure!!!) of things that will disappear in our lifetimes. Well, probably not in mine as I am 70 years old. The list included the Post Office, paper books, newspapers, checks, land-line telephones, music (CDs), television and more. I’m surprised that museums didn’t even make the list.

  5. Brooks D. Simpson March 22, 2014 / 3:14 pm

    Leave it to Carl Roden to suggest that I’m arguing that the Virginia Flaggers brought down the MOC.

    No reason to fear someone who can’ t read. 🙂

    Post that, David Grove. 🙂

  6. Eric A. Jacobson March 24, 2014 / 12:02 pm

    This is a condition known as Compulsive Flag Obsession, or CFO, as I term it. 🙂

    Truth is, no measurable of guests are visiting because the flag is up, and no measureable number would boycott a visit if it wasn’t up. In the minds of most, including the vast majority of Southerners, the flag is irrelevant. Heck, even the absence of an American flag doesn’t strike a chord with most people. If they are interested in visiting a Civil War site, they are interested in history and the mid-19th century American experience, not one-sided heritage, not modern emotions, not convenient propaganda, or much of anything else related to said subjects. This basic fact of tourism is completely lost on those with CFO. They think everyone is or should be like them, or should think like them, when the truth is most people have no interest in wasting their time on such matters.

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