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News & Press: President's Message

A New (Super)Man In Town

Thursday, February 16, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Ryan Paul
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This may come as a shock to many of you, but we have a new Superman . . . and  Batman . . . and Wonder Woman. That’s right, in September of 2011 DC comics, of which I have been a loyal supporter for many years, re-launched all of their titles. Action Comics and Detective Comics, each of which were up to issues in the high 600’s started over at issue number one. To put that in perspective, Action Comics#1, which by the way just sold at auction for $2.6 million, was published in June of 1938. That’s over 73 years of monthly issues all rebooted to number 1.

In the comics world, this is a big deal. DC reasoned that storylines had grown convoluted and continuity more complex that it became necessary to hit the restart button. The editors and creative folks at DC believe that this event will provide opportunities for bringing these classic characters to a new audience. This seems to have worked well for them, and specifically for me. My son and I have enjoyed taking trips to the comic book store to get the new issues of our favorite titles. We talk about the nature of the stories and grow wide-eyed at the intense and colorful artwork. It has become a hobby we both enjoy.

What does this have to with museums? Like many of you I have watched and waited with baited breath as the Natural History Museum of Utah rose from the ground. I remember looking at the construction plans and concept art with wonder as I imagined how the completed facility would look. Their doors opened and nobody was disappointed. Although their old facility had character, the collection and staff had long outgrown the space. Now, the museum’s collection shines, and interpretive, educational, and research capacity has exponentially grown. This re-launch worked.

Recently I spent some time with my family at The Living Planet Aquarium in Sandy. My wife’s parents live near there so we visit often. They have continually added new and exciting adventures for my kids, and let’s face it, for me as well. I remember the days before the penguins, and now there will soon be otters. They too are looking to expand to a new site in Draper. It is a long time coming for them and let’s hope it proves successful.

This wave of revision is not just limited to new facilities. In recent years, Fort Douglas Military Museum in Salt Lake and Edge of the Cedars in Blanding both had large exhibit makeovers and the Church History Museum is gearing up for one of their own. The Leonardo opened after repurposing the old Salt Lake City library, the Salt Lake Art Center is now the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, and here in Cedar City, planning has begun in earnest for SUMA, the Southern Utah Museum of Art.

This is an exciting time for Utah’s museum community. I encourage you to get involved and carry the spirit of renewal to your own community and museums. You can even borrow my copy of Action Comics #1, as long as you wash your hands first.

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