Bureau reporters at the Chicago Tribune are sharing city memories and one, Ellen Warren, recalls the grand opening of the Lincoln Library in April, 2005 :
Museum executive director Richard Norton Smith clearly does NOT appreciate critics who have carped about the Museum's lifelike Lincoln statues. It's a "manufactured non-existent controversy," he told me.
"Real people don't talk about 'rubber Lincolns.' No one on the street talks about 'rubber Lincolns.' No one gives a shit about 'rubber Lincolns.'"
The controversy was about the tax-supported stewardship of public memory being placed in the hands of people who offer us fabricated 3-D Lincoln images in lieu of history - not about mannekins per se.
The idea that what the public wants equals history renders history nothing but putty in the hands of museum directors, governors, battlefield guides, filmmakers, market researchers, and nonfiction storytellers.
The reporter "gets" the Smith dynamic dispite his disclaimers:
... Norton was channeling his inner Brad Pitt, working the crowds like a movie star.
Citizens without tickets were lined up a dozen deep in some places and those near the front were asking Smith to sign their dedication programs. It's got to be one of the rare times in history when a scholar gets to play like it's Hollywood. Or Disneyland.
The scholar. What a scholar.