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My NPR Soundbite on the Museum Propaganda Initiative

I did indeed have my one sentence of fame on National Public Radio today, in a segment that they (mischievously?) titled: “State Dept. Museums Plug Cultural Diplomacy.”
Does this mean that institutions that imprudently allow themselves be co-opted by political propagandists will henceforth be know as “State Department Museums”?
Taking the other side in this two-minute debate was Erik Ledbetter, director of international programs at the American Association of Museums, which is collaborating with the State Department in administering the Museums & Community Collaborations Abroad program. Ledbetter drew a dubious connection between the new program and the Marshall Plan (the megabucks postwar program of humanitarian relief) and observed that museums’ “colleagues—U.S. scholars, not administration officials…will make the final awards.” Maybe so, but won’t the State Department, which is funding the program to achieve specific objectives, carefully vet the proposals before final choices are made?
Whatever your view, you can listen to this morning’s NPR segment here.
And you can comment on CultureGrrl here. Anna McAlpine, AAM’s media and communications coordinator, indicated yesterday that she would be sending a response. So far, none has arrived.

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