Recently, DAH Deputy Director Rebecca Burkes was reviewing the Mosaic Templars Museum Store sales and items for sale with Interim MTCC Director Quantia Fletcher. In that review, they determined that carrying t-shirts with the slogan, “Black Lives Matter,” was not consistent with the merchandise available in our other museum stores, Old State House Museum, Historic Arkansas Museum and Delta Cultural Center. The practice in the other stores is that wearable items have the museum logo or feature a specific museum exhibit or program. The decision was made to remove the t-shirts. Some discussion did focus on the fact that the t-shirts could be seen as controversial.
I regret that the removal of the t-shirts has sparked a discussion that has turned divisive, and I have asked staff at MTCC to return the t-shirts to the museum store. The Department of Arkansas Heritage will continue to put considerable resources into Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and its mission of presenting the African-American experience and why it’s important that all Arkansans know it. I hope everyone will come see the Kinsey Collection while it is on exhibit at MTCC from April 8 through July 2. This nationally acclaimed exhibit includes authentic and rare art, artifacts, books, documents and manuscripts that express the often untold story of African American achievement and contribution.