Thursday, April 8, 2010

Letter of the Day: April 8

Memo for The Record

Albert E Minns Jr
Curator, Medical Museum

Herman E Demick
CQ 8 April 1961

8 April 1961

During CQ duty on this date numerous inquiries were made by visitors requesting the wherebouts of the Forensic Pathology exhibits.

Some inquiries were the direct result of the Army Times article and some were due to the Evening Star Letter To The Editor which is attached [missing now – MR]. However, the majority were from people who heard about the exhibits being interesting or those who had seen them previously and were bringing others in to see them. Upon arrival these visitors naturally inquired for them when the exhibits were not found in their areas.

One mother with her teenage son – present at the request of her son – stated that TV Westerns represent the use of guns and knives as not dangerous. Her son had been impressed with our exhibits which served as an object lesson to him. Rather than being shocked he was seriously interested and asked his mother to visit the Museum with him.

M/Sgt Clayton A Knepley, of WRAMC [this is when the Museum was still downtown near the Smithsonian] visited the museum with his teenage son expressly to see the exhibits in question. The Sgt was familiar with the Exhibits and in hi opinion they are very valuable to the young. He read the Times article and was in fact the source of my knowledge of any letter in the Star. His reaction to the affair is that in his opinion it is unfair and unwarranted. He believes both articles have been written by the same person – pointing out the similarity in the writing style.

Guard James Jackson and I had near one-hundred inquiries for the exhibits throughout the day. It may be noted that visitor attendance was comparatively light due to the parade activities. The total requests for the exhibits versus attendance represent a good percentage of people wanting the exhibits.

Mr. Robert F. Jones, [street address redacted] Philadelphia, Pa. tour-director brings groups of students and adults to D.C. at least once a week. During the past few weeks he has brought in young girl students in groups of 65. During these weeks he reports, not one of the girls have shown anything but serious interest in the Forensic Pathology exhibits. Not one case of “shock or horror”. His viewpoint is that his groups learned the seriousness of “the unloaded gun and the switch-blade”. Mr. Jones says he intends to write a letter to the paper giving his opinion. He said it is a shame the exhibits have been removed.

Herman E Demick

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