Museum Exhibit Too Comfortable to Plop Down On

We did a quick trip to Columbia, South Carolina and I visited the Columbia Museum. No fooling they had a special exhibit on CHAIRS. Really. I know you are as intrigued as I was at the thought of such an interesting installation.

There were chairs from all over America and represented every major era of Art. Two or three rooms of CHAIRS. It was the most boring exhibit I have ever seen. Go to any junk store and you will see all twice as many selections of “Chairs.”

The real omission to my discerning eye was the Lazy Boy. There was not one green naugahyde example in the bunch. It was disturbing that the curators omitted such an icon of the American life.

If they wanted to really get someone’s attention and provide information on a real provocative use of the chair, looks like to me they would have contacted the State of Alabama to see if they could borrow “Yellow Mama.” Now that would have caused quiet a spark of excitement. It comes with its own colorful history. Many of our most notorious criminals and not so notable citizens have sat upon that seat of Justice.

What does the death penalty really mean if we don’t bother to include it in the visual history of our countries museums? Shouldn’t we have to see for ourselves the mechanism that up until a dozen or so years ago eliminated those that were judged not to be fit for society? Are we too scared to see the real thing?

I am not sure how if the reasoning some people use that the Death penalty is a deterrent can have the luxury of not putting the chair out there for all to see. Now don’t get me wrong, there are times that the death penalty is warranted. But I happen to think it is not as often as some might want.  If someone proves they cannot be part of a civilized society then it is a valid option.

We should expect Museums to put together exhibits that makes us think not just ignore serious parts of our history and culture. To hide the ugly stuff is not enlightening.

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