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Takin' it Window
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by Arthur Mehroff
Some of you may have seen the popular student t-shirt that says “Beer: It’s Not Just for Breakfast Anymore.” I sometimes feel that way about my occasionally lonely interest in historic preservation here at the Museum of Art & Archaeology. Surrounded on all sides by magnificent examples of our cultural heritage in the form of the built environment, I try to let people know that the ‘classics’ and genuine works of art are not confined within the walls of the Museum. Our towns and cities are filled with living examples of rich classical imagery, but without education leading to appreciation that heritage will become meaningless over time and eventually destroyed. What happens (or doesn’t happen) in our classrooms, from grade school to universities, shapes our built environment and communities as vital places to live, work, and recreate with one another.
One of the central premises of my community design work has always been that in the face of today’s relentless globalization people and investors increasingly seek unique and historic places, what anthropologists and tourism experts often refer to as authenticity. Missouri communities who truly appreciate and care for their architectural heritage actually have a competitive advantage in the global competition for investment and survival.
While working on community design and visioning in Kirksville, Missouri several years ago, I documented several wonderful examples of our classical heritage scattered throughout its downtown district, like the one pictured at the beginning here. Most older Missouri towns like Kirksville contain similar treasures that, like heirloom seeds, simply await some TLC in order to burst back into life again. Missouri Life and I would be very interested in seeing your images of our classical heritage in the built environment of Missouri towns and cities, because, you see, the ‘classics’ aren’t just for museums anymore