Frank T. Keefe’s May 25 letter defending the construction of the Boston Museum was agreeable overall; comprehensiveness, after all, is admirable in a museum (“Boston Museum would be gateway for the city”). However, one phrase stood out and made me question Keefe’s intentions: “we fail to exploit the full potential of our tourist economy.”
Although the Boston Museum is a commercial enterprise, if it wishes to be a more comprehensive version of Boston’s institutions, it must be founded upon the same principle that guided the founders of those institutions: education. If we are to provide that “gateway and partnership institution” as he proposes, then we must see visitors as learners open to interpretation and inspiration, not as exploitable wallets. Aim for the mind first, not the pocket.