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ALAN WEINBERG ON SMITHSONIAN EXHIBITS OF INDIAN PEACE MEDALS
Alan V. Weinberg submitted these thoughts in response to Max Spiegel's observations on the Indian Peace medal display at the American Indian Museum in Washington, DC. -EditorHow times have changed!
My wife and I spent Christmas in and around Washington D.C. in Dec 1999. I distinctly recall an excellent display of silver Indian Peace medals including a silver "shell" Jefferson and an oval George Washington Indian Peace medal, all on exhibit in the National Portrait Gallery, a part of the Smithsonian but in a separate building, the same building that housed the signature huge full figure portrait of Washington.
However, contrary to what Max says he observed, the oval GW was definitely not by Richardson's own hand - it lacked the counterstamp of JR at the bottom and the skill of engraving was mediocre compared to a genuine Richardson engraving.
On the same visit, we viewed the then-recently opened American Indian Museum, also part of the Smithsonian, and we saw no genuine silver Indian Peace medals on display at all. In fact, the American Indian Museum was terribly disappointing in the quality of items on exhibit in any category and vast areas with no displays at all. Of all the Smithsonian museums, that was the only one where I felt that someone had put one over on the Federal Government.
How times and exhibits have apparently changed since 1999.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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