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Gary Mack and the Sixth Floor Museum


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It seems that Gary Mack does not allow the Sixth Floor Museum to sell "conspiracy" books. Len Osanic has called for the museum to be boycotted. Do you agree?

The late Bill Hicks said that he was amazed when he visited the sixth floor museum. And awed by the painstaking reproduction of the snipers nest. And do you know how to tell it was painstakingly authentic, just like the day JFK was killed? Because Lee Harvey Oswald wasn't there.

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It seems that Gary Mack does not allow the Sixth Floor Museum to sell "conspiracy" books. Len Osanic has called for the museum to be boycotted. Do you agree?

It would be great if a boycott could be initiated that would draw some scrutiny to the skewed history being promulgated on behalf of Dallas' image. To not have Jim Marrs' or Tony Summers' books there is flagrant and inexcusable.

The late Bill Hicks said that he was amazed when he visited the sixth floor museum. And awed by the painstaking reproduction of the snipers nest. And do you know how to tell it was painstakingly authentic, just like the day JFK was killed? Because Lee Harvey Oswald wasn't there.

That's funny! But on a serious note, the physical reproduction of the sniper's nest is anything but precise. There is a photo of it, taken in 1963, which has boxes turned different ways than in the current physical representation.

Far worse, is the misrepresentation of certainty that the window encased in the plexiglass exhibit is the actual 1963 SE corner window. A 2005 article, entitled "Stained Glass," first published by the Dallas Observer, Nov 27, 1997, written by Ann Zimmerman, notes:

"Displayed halfway through the tour in the Sixth Floor Museum is one of the most famous windows in the world--the perch from which Oswald allegedly killed Kennedy with a cheap Italian mail-order rifle. Behind a thick wall of Plexiglass, the window has been exhibited here since 1995, and since then, more than a million visitors have scrutinized it, studied it, even venerated its tragic place in history. The window, located in the southeast corner of the museum, sits only a few feet from where Oswald killed Kennedy--allegedly, of course. It bears the caption 'The Original Window from the Sniper's Perch.' But is it?....

First, there is ... James Bagby, ... former security guard at the museum. After overhearing some museum visitors question the authenticity of the window last March, Bagby studied the window for himself. He first noticed that the one-inch thick, salmon-colored smudge of paint and putty on the display window isn't apparent on an old picture of the real window. The smudge, which is on what would have been the outside of the glass, matches the color of the wooden trim on the outside of the window. A note on the exhibit points out that the 'paint on the exterior trim is original to the time of the assassination.' After studying pictures of the real window taken the day of the assassination, Bagby also noticed the distinct markings on the wooden sash along the bottom of the window that do not appear on the window on exhibit.

Bagby first brought these discrepancies to the attention of museum archivist Gary Mack eight months ago. 'What you've discovered is quite important,' Bagby says Mack told him. 'But I wouldn't be telling anyone about this.' Jeff West, [former] executive director of the Sixth Floor, and Mack now admit they have questions about the authenticity of the window--no, make that doubts. 'We have concerns,' West says. 'It definitely bears scrutiny.' 'It's a corner window,' Mack adds. 'Whether it's the window where shots were fired, we're not sure.'"

What kind of curatorial integity is that?

Tim

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Gary Mack has sent this message:

“It seems that Gary Mack does not allow the Sixth Floor Museum to sell "conspiracy" books.”

Where did this assumption come from? It is false. The Director and I were the ones who decided in 1994 (soon after I was hired) that the Museum gift shop SHOULD carry some conspiracy titles. The guidelines were simple: titles and content must be up-to-date, accurate, fair and objective, properly sourced, and are primarily an examination of the historical record, not pushing some pet theory. The Museum does history, not theories.

The initial list was about ten titles, but I quickly found that most, such as Six Seconds In Dallas, were out of print. The store does not sell used merchandise. Over the years, many of the initial choices, such as Anthony Summers’ Conspiracy/Not In Your Lifetime, were available in the store but have since gone out of print.

Here are some other pro-conspiracy titles that were, or are, still available there: Robert Blakey’s The Plot To Kill The President, Gary Cornwell’s Real Answers, Carl Oglesby’s The JFK Assassination: Facts And Theories, David Wrone’s recent The Zapruder Film, Oliver Stone’s JFK: The Book of The Film, and one or two others.

Some publishers haven’t sent review copies, so those titles cannot be considered at all. And, of course, the store carries many assassination titles that most book stores ignore.

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It seems that Gary Mack does not allow the Sixth Floor Museum to sell "conspiracy" books.
Where did this assumption come from? It is false.

Was John Simkin's "assumption" false?

Tim

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Okay. So the book store doesn't automatically exclude books just because they claim there was a conspiracy. But does it show favoritism to books that claim there was no conspiracy? I don't see how anyone can honestly claim Case Closed is a better book than The Last Investigation. Was Fonzi's book ever carried in the book store?

If Gary agrees to carry Larry Hancock's updated Someone Would Have Talked then he'll have proved his point, at least to me. What about it, Gary?

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I don't see how anyone can honestly claim Case Closed is a better book than The Last Investigation. Was Fonzi's book ever carried in the book store? If Gary agrees to carry Larry Hancock's updated Someone Would Have Talked then he'll have proved his point, at least to me. What about it, Gary?

Gary Mack would have my support if he did the following:

Carry books by Marrs, Summers, Fonzi, Hancock, Waldron, Trask and Groden's TKOAP;

Reword the caption about the window exhibit that more honestly reflects the uncertainty; and

Put more money and effort into getting the landscaping back to 1963 levels.

Since the corner of the museum is blocked off, no one can look out that window and see what an impediment the tree would have been. That aspect was critically absent from the re-enactments in the Magic Bullet program. This is especially relevant if Kennedy was hit before emerging from under the tree. But even if visitors could peer out the window, the degree of overgrowth of the Live Oak would usefully prevent analysis of the visual range available to a 1963 shooter.

Tim

Edited by Tim Carroll
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a simple traced outline on the window established from the right photos, that could be viewed through a few lensed tubes with crosshairs perhaps?. It might cause a rise in number of people questioning of some of the findings.

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If the 6th floor Museum had any interest in covering the debate about who killed JFK and

why, all the critical books would be displayed. Even books which are out of print

can be obtained online via Amazon. But there is an agenda, which is that the assasination

took place on the 6th floor. I have never gone up to the Museum for this reason. I consider it a

money making farce designed to continue the disinformation WC view about this case.

Hard to believe that Gary Mack was ever a serious researcher. In fact I really believe that

people who come into this case and then get "turned" to LN ranting could be bought off from the start.

At least this is how it has always appeared to me. People who care about hisortorical truth on these issues are not going to suddenly begin spouting the WC lie just for money. Either you are on the side of

finding the truth or you are on the side of the conspiritors. Can't have it both ways, imho.

Dawn

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If the 6th floor Museum had any interest in covering the debate about who killed JFK and

why, all the critical books would be displayed. Even books which are out of print

can be obtained online via Amazon. But there is an agenda, which is that the assasination

took place on the 6th floor. I have never gone up to the Museum for this reason. I consider it a

money making farce designed to continue the disinformation WC view about this case.

Hard to believe that Gary Mack was ever a serious researcher. In fact I really believe that

people who come into this case and then get "turned" to LN ranting could be bought off from the start.

At least this is how it has always appeared to me. People who care about hisortorical truth on these issues are not going to suddenly begin spouting the WC lie just for money. Either you are on the side of

finding the truth or you are on the side of the conspiritors. Can't have it both ways, imho.

Dawn

Dawn, I'm fairly sure that Gary is not a LNer. I believe he is a CTer who is skeptical of most of the work done by CTs. As far as Tim's proposal on what books should be in the store, I disagree with some of his selections. As a matter of taste, I'm not sure I'd carry books on the medical evidence in the store, either. And that's my specialized area of interest. There's just something upsetting about having schoolkids and grandmas leafing through books of autopsy photos... in the building from which one of the killers took aim.

Maybe if they kept those books behind the counter...

As stated, if Debra or Larry sends Gary a copy of Larry's revised book, and it's rejected, a bias will be revealed. Larry's work is historical and well-documented. IMHO.

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As far as Tim's proposal on what books should be in the store, I disagree with some of his selections. As a matter of taste, I'm not sure I'd carry books on the medical evidence in the store, either.

The point about autopsy photos being readily viewable at a museum devoted to Kennedy's death, as is the case in any bookstore, may be a valid consideration of taste. But I doubt that Pat would assert that those photos aren't crucial to an understanding of what occurred in Dealey Plaza. So a prohibition of the autopsy photos would apply to Groden's TKOAP. What other books that I named would not be worthy of availability at the Sixth Floor Museum? Marrs' Crossfire or Summers' Not In Your Lifetime?

For Larry Hancock's upcoming book, he needs to get a proficient editor to attain the degree of professionalism required for mainstream publication. The substance is there, generally, but the grammar and the detailed fact-checking have been problematic in existant publications.

Tim

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There are certain things I understand why the museum did. For instance, the Zapruder film. Quite frankly, it's gruesome. I know hardened war veterans that wince when they see it. I don't want the President's head blowing up every six seconds on a loop. He's dead, we all know it, we all know he was shot in the head - and when I was there, the museum sold "Image of an Assassination" on DVD & VHS for those who were still morbidly curious.

And, since it is a MUSEUM, facts ARE important - and thus, I understand why books with pet theories aren't sold. People expect things that have been historian-approved when they buy something from an institution such as a museum. Hell, I refuse to buy a history book unless I've checked reviews of it bringing up whether it's accurate or not. The JFK case is flooded with misinformation, from people who think there REALLY WAS a man named Willie O'Keefe to people who think the "X" is right-on-target on Elm Street. We don't need anymore silly people thinking they know everything after reading one book they BELIEVE is accurate because they bought it at a trusted source. It's just drama and a waste of everybody's time.

Yes, the caption on the window should be changed, but really - what else is the Museum doing wrong here?

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I would agree with Tim and indeed it needs to be said that Gary Mack requested a review

copy of my first edition - however the first edition was developed primarily as a source

document for researchers (hence on the CD exhibits rather than putting it into

other areas). Also, we didn't feel that the "form factor" was right for a retail sales

environment. For those reasons we didn't pass a copy to Gary.

The second edition has been professionally edited, has been fact checked, will have an index

and expanded bibliography and will be bound for retail sales - so we do anticipate

submitting it to him.

On the other hand, I'm still not going to gurantee that the reader won't find a typo or

a bad use of grammar on my part. They will however find a great quantity of new

material, a streamlining of the presentation, easier reading (well some easier at least

due to the editor's persistance) and appendices running through "J" to accomodate peripheral

material.

-- Larry

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There are certain things I understand why the museum did. For instance, the Zapruder film. Quite frankly, it's gruesome. I know hardened war veterans that wince when they see it. I don't want the President's head blowing up every six seconds on a loop. He's dead, we all know it, we all know he was shot in the head - and when I was there, the museum sold "Image of an Assassination" on DVD & VHS for those who were still morbidly curious.

And, since it is a MUSEUM, facts ARE important - and thus, I understand why books with pet theories aren't sold. People expect things that have been historian-approved when they buy something from an institution such as a museum. Hell, I refuse to buy a history book unless I've checked reviews of it bringing up whether it's accurate or not. The JFK case is flooded with misinformation, from people who think there REALLY WAS a man named Willie O'Keefe to people who think the "X" is right-on-target on Elm Street. We don't need anymore silly people thinking they know everything after reading one book they BELIEVE is accurate because they bought it at a trusted source. It's just drama and a waste of everybody's time.

Yes, the caption on the window should be changed, but really - what else is the Museum doing wrong here?

Thank you very much -- I'll file your concern for how I understand Dallas history, someplace!

"...I understand why books with pet theories aren't sold..." What's that Single Bullet Theory called, again?

Blood and guts on display, that's a problem in TEXAS? Surely you jest, Nic.

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There are certain things I understand why the museum did. For instance, the Zapruder film. Quite frankly, it's gruesome. I know hardened war veterans that wince when they see it. I don't want the President's head blowing up every six seconds on a loop. He's dead, we all know it, we all know he was shot in the head - and when I was there, the museum sold "Image of an Assassination" on DVD & VHS for those who were still morbidly curious.

And, since it is a MUSEUM, facts ARE important - and thus, I understand why books with pet theories aren't sold. People expect things that have been historian-approved when they buy something from an institution such as a museum. Hell, I refuse to buy a history book unless I've checked reviews of it bringing up whether it's accurate or not. The JFK case is flooded with misinformation, from people who think there REALLY WAS a man named Willie O'Keefe to people who think the "X" is right-on-target on Elm Street. We don't need anymore silly people thinking they know everything after reading one book they BELIEVE is accurate because they bought it at a trusted source. It's just drama and a waste of everybody's time.

Yes, the caption on the window should be changed, but really - what else is the Museum doing wrong here?

Thank you very much -- I'll file your concern for how I understand Dallas history, someplace!

"...I understand why books with pet theories aren't sold..." What's that Single Bullet Theory called, again?

Blood and guts on display, that's a problem in TEXAS? Surely you jest, Nic.

I more classify "pet theories" along the lines of.. Walt Disney's cryogenically frozen head shot JFK from a UFO with a raygun. Not a theory widely published, even if it's disregarded by myself and the vast majority of researchers. An institution based on fact can't just sell any LSD-induced nonsense.

And actually, although Texas is a "red" state for more than one reason, museums should be done with taste. There's no need to constantly replay a murder for shock value. It's classless. Just like I think it's classless that the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library features a diorama of the Ford Theater with Booth sneaking in in the background. We know Lincoln and Kennedy were shot in the head, and we know they're dead, and we know that's how the story ends. Just because the Sixth Floor Museum is on site doesn't mean it has a right to be disrespectful. President dead, we got it. It's the precise reason I don't want Jackie's pink suit displayed for the world to see. It was a man's life and a family's tragedy before it was your research hobby.

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