It would be pointless to even try and add commentary to this story, where a running gag for five years straight perfectly sums up black history in America. [St. Louis black history museum struggles to keep wax figures cool after thieves steal AC units, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 23, 2016]:
How do you maintain a wax museum in this scorching St. Louis heat with no air conditioning?
An actual image of a wax exhibit from the Griot Museum of Black History...
The people who run the Griot Museum of Black History know. They’ve been doing it for more than a week, ever since copper thieves hauled off two air conditioning condensers and vandalized a third. The damage occurred between June 11 and June 14.
The same thing has happened each of the last five summers to the museum, at 2505 St. Louis Avenue.The thermostat registered 91 degrees Thursday morning. A cooler of iced water bottles sits near the front entrance. A sign warning visitors of the heat and asking for tolerance is taped to the front door.
Nearly 20 floor fans were positioned throughout the museum, blowing near the life-sized wax figures created in the image of notables such as Miles Davis, Percy Green and Dred Scott.
“Of course, they’re not going to end up in a big pile of wax on the floor,” said Lois Conley, the museum’s founder and executive director. “But they certainly aren’t going to be as durable as they once were.”
In one exhibit, the wax figure of a young Martin Luther King Jr. sits in a chair, wearing a suit and loosened necktie. There is a sheen on his forehead. A visitor wondered if the heat was getting to him.
“It’s always been that way,” said Alicia Singleton, a museum employee.
Singleton was running the front desk Thursday when a group of about 20 schoolchildren from a summer camp wandered in with their leaders for self-guided tours. The kids looked at some displays, then took turns putting their faces close to the fans.
Singleton said she’s noticed that tours go more quickly with the heat, and visitors don’t take time to do the scavenger hunt or read all of the displays.
Sherman George, the city’s former fire chief, is depicted by a wax figure in the museum and serves on the museum’s board. He said thieves have taken or tampered with the museum’s air conditioning units every year for the last five summers.
Anti-theft cages around the units didn’t stop them.
“I don’t know what we can do other than post a sign, ‘Please don’t steal it,’” George said.
Conley is keeping the museum open while she tries to get bids for replacement air conditioners. She welcomes the kindness of strangers. One man from Fairview Heights offered a portable unit. A woman stopped by Thursday to say she could help Conley get a unit at cost, then suggested any future unit be installed high above the ground. Conley said they were already considering that.
At an undisclosed Wal-Mart in metro St. Louis, Darren Wilson works nights stocking shelves, because he can't get a job in the vocation he loves.Conley estimates it could cost anywhere from $4,000 to $6,000 a unit. The museum is seeking donations at a gofundme account.
All because he did everything exactly right on a fateful afternoon in Ferguson in August 2014, when a black male attacked him on Canfield Drive.
That's the only history of black people I care to remember. The rest can melt away.