What’s In A Name?

Last week I commented briefly on the proposed move decided on by the staff at the Museum of the Confederacy.  Towards the end of that post I suggested that the museum should think about changing its name for public relations reasons.  One of my readers commented that this was a good idea and yesterday I came across an article that reinforces my position.

The parties who dominate city government often regard the MOC as too controversial to support publicly," the report states. "Public personae and potential supporters – including individuals, politicians, corporations and foundations – will not publicly align themselves with the Confederacy and, by association, the MOC."  The report says the museum has not addressed "the problem as one of political correctness and has not seriously addressed repositioning the museum."  So, why not just change the name and take out the offending word?  "It’s not as simple as just changing the name," [H. Nicholas] Muller says. "There’s a history of over 100 years with the name. You can’t change the name without losing some of the supporters. It would be seen as a fairly shallow public relations ploy.

What I don’t understand is if you can’t maintain the support of local civic leaders than what supporters is Muller and others worried about maintaining?  They obviously have no money.  Unfortunately, the increase in publicity surrounding the Confederate flag, the politics of the Confederacy, and its presence in the current Virginia Senate race makes it a public issue that must be addressed.  There are practical reasons to move the MOC and I’ve supported it all along, but if anyone believes that a simple move is going to solve the financial problem and decrease in visitation, think again.  As this short passage above and my comments last week regarding the apparent lack of support among Southern Heritage organizations suggests, the problem is deeper. 

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