Why museums display controversial artifacts - WNEM TV 5

Why museums display controversial artifacts

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
FRANKENMUTH, MI (WNEM) -

Important lessons are taught and learned from history.

That often includes learning about the darkest and most controversial periods in history.

So how do museums display and use artifacts from these times?

"I think because it's important that they understand the context of how each of these battles were fought," said Greg Rummel, president of the board of directors for the Military and Space Heroes Museum in Frankenmuth.

He explained why it's important to preserve controversial artifacts from current and past wars, even if some might find them offensive.

"We did have an enemy. We had a government or dictatorship. They were killing people and taking territory," Rummel said.

Most of the galleries at the museum celebrate the lives of U.S. soldiers and the lives lost in war, honoring them for their service and dedication. There are also displays like Nazi flags, guns and clothing.

Rummel said it's important to see how they display all of the memorabilia.

"You will notice in the museum, although we have displays that incorporate memorabilia and artifacts that our soldiers brought back from other campaigns - whether that's World War I fighting the Russians or World War II, the battle against the Nazis or the war on terror. They bring back things and we largely unceremoniously display these artifacts," Rummel said.

Rummel said the historical context of why these battles were fought is important. He said without remembering the past it's hard to know how to make a brighter future.

"We hope it inspires people so we don't have to ever fight these wars again," Rummel said.

The Frankenmuth Historical Museum is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m.

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