Hard economic times make me depressed, make everyone depressed as we struggle to figure out what to cut, how to cope. But there is always hope, a word that keeps jumping out at me. Hope that the legislature and our governor will create a budget that supports education and the arts. Hope that the K-12 schools will have enough resources to bring their students on fieldtrips to experience the museum. Hope that we offer exhibits and programs that you, our audience, find compelling enough to make a visit to the museum. Hope that our supporters will give us a hand while we work to care for and share our collections with you.
The word keeps jumping out at me. Dr. Allen Hamilton in his book The Scalpel and the Soul wrote “He [Andy Weil] asserts there is no such thing as ‘false hope.’ Hope is simply the desire to prevail, to survive, and to win against overwhelming odds.” I agree. ASM has been here for 116 years preserving our cultural heritage, researching material culture to learn more, and sharing our riches and insights about our world with the public and students. We will continue to do this.
Emily Dickinson poetically wrote,
“Hope is a thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.” . . . .
Ah yes, hope. We must, as Navajo artist Shonto Begay proclaims, ride our faith. This is the name of the art pony in ASM’s lobby that he painted in 2002. It depicts many riders falling off and one holding on with all his might. About the pony he wrote: “We all fall from the height we climb or society has placed on us. We all fall short of our own glory and thus we fall off our pony. Maybe it is a pony of our global compassionate duties. Maybe it is an internal struggle that oftentimes leaves us in the dust of life’s arena. The fallibility and foible of our mission is global and collective. All nations, all tribes, we evolve through this ‘ride.’ The one rider is still our hope and maybe our strength in reserve, maybe he will fall, maybe he will hang on for a few more seconds. In this recognition, we still have hope.”
Come ride with us. I have faith that you will find something at Arizona State Museum that interests you, wows you, inspires you or intrigues you. Visit the museum and make our collective hope sparkle that in these tough times museums are still valued community resources.