Now stop that! This is not some intellectual expose or elaborate treatise so stop the eye-glazing. I’m talking about the real life, everyday raison d’etre.
Why sure, there’s the obvious – to spread a net and catch the dollars coming out of highly-desirable cultural and heritage tourists who statistically spend more than the average ice cream-eating visitor. And there are the day-to-day reasons – an archive of historical data preserved for serious historians to access and exhibits to educate citizens and students on Newburyport’s rich past.
Here is why these museums are important: they have a grave responsibility to categorize why our city is important to the rest of the nation. At one time we were the fifth most important community in the country. And now we’re a backwater. No one in Idaho or New Mexico or Iowa has the slightest idea that we even exist let alone had a great importance at one time.
Have you ever driven in upstate New York into the Catskill’s? The poverty is palpable and present everywhere and yet less than a hundred miles south is vibrant New York City.
The money went elsewhere.
As affluent as our town is becoming, we still don’t have the kind of financial security that we should have. The economy is still seasonal. Businesses come, struggle and most fail; many of our citizens are still barely making ends-meat – and contrary to our local socialists, the mood in Beacon Hill is not to give money to Newburyport as they mistake our beauty for excessive wealth. And our small population makes it impossible to rely on just our citizens to keep our affluence going – we need visitors and high quality tourists who stay and spend and support our economy. To do that, we need to re-assert our importance to the rest of the country – and this is where our museums come into their importance:
They need to categorize, document and promote Newburyport to the rest of the country so that we can become a National Landmark city. I will expand on what Landmark status gives us in a later political post but the point is, it is all in vain unless we can document and prove our worth to the rest of the country.
Until that happens, we will remain a backwater and we will continue to struggle financially.
Our thriving museums are the key to the financial success of our city and they can be used to be the big clubs to finally beat down and defeat The Curse.