(Discovering) Columbus is fun!
5 Things I Learned from the “Discovering Columbus” exhibit at Columbus Circle.
- Christopher Columbus is a hero — or at least that’s how most adult visitors like to think of him.
- Kids are more likely than their parents to see Columbus as a colonizer, enslaver or the guy whose germs helped decimate Native populations. So I heard from a security guard who’s eavesdropped on some fierce intra-family debates.
- A lot of people don’t have much faith in academic scholarship, especially if it casts Columbus in a negative light. “It’s history. We rewrite history all the time,” said Scott Mackey, from Rochester. “So whoever’s teaching it, it’s their twist.”
- In 1891, the year before the statue was erected, 11 Italian-Americans were lynched in New Orleans. This I heard from John Mancini, head of the Italic Institute of America, who’s been a vocal critic of the exhibit because it doesn’t present these kinds of facts.
- The exhibit is a hit. It’s sold out just about every day, and every visitor seems to have a smile on their face. Columbus is Fun!
The exhibit is up through November 18. More info at the Public Art Fund.
(Photo by Tom Powell Imaging)