American Revolution Center opens up on a new front
This morning on 91FM, WHYY’s Alex Schmidt continued her reporting on the embattled American Revolution Center with a story about the Center’s plans to share a “sample” of their historical holdings. As Alex reports, the Center is partnering up with the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts to put several paintings and other artifacts on display in September.
According to ZeeAnn Mason, Senior VP of the Center, the exhibition, though independent of the legal challenge, could help turn public opinion in favor of the project.
“We’re pleased that this exhibition will allow people to take a look at a sample of the real purpose and mission of the American Revolution Center,” said Mason, “which is to portray history in a dynamic and unusual manner.”
You may remember Alex’s past reporting about the controversial museum and hotel complex here, here and here. In addition, the Philadelphia Inquirer just ran an interview of one of the ARC’s most prominent financial backers, former cable tycoon Gerry Lenfest. Lenfest acknowledges that the fight over the Center may eventually lead to the end of the project:
During an interview last week at his foundation offices in West Conshohocken, Lenfest emphasized that constructing the museum on the north side of the Schuylkill remains his first, best choice – but that he recognized the development could not continue to endure endless delays.
“How long we’re going to stick around remains to be seen,” he said. If the project drags on indefinitely, “we may well lose the support of the board and abandon it.”
The Center is still embroiled in a battle with historical preservation advocates who claim that its plans for building on a slice of Valley Forge National Historical Park would irreversibly degrade the historical sanctity of the park.
Clearly the future of the Center is still in the air. If anyone close to the issue or a neighbor of the area in question is reading, feel free to contribute some insight in the comments into the concerns of the Center opponents. If you have any pictures or video of this part of the park, please contribute links so I can share them in a separate blog post. You can use the comments for that as well.