In class, we had the pleasure of hearing from Levi Fox, a public historian who has taken on an interesting museum project. His project is a museum in Atlantic City, NJ, dedicated to Donald Trump’s casino empire and its impact on the city. When I first saw heard that someone was attempting to create a museum that centered on Donald Trump, I was apprehensive at the thought of a museum praising him but also, admittedly a little pleased at the idea of their being an anti-Trump exhibit so soon into his presidency. Most of all, I was curious how such a museum deal with him now being president. Levi presented us with the same question at the beginning of his lecture. He admitted that creating the exhibit, that intersects Trump as a business mogul and now President was a tricky undertaking. However Levi, made clear that the aim of this exhibit was now in honor of Trump or his presidency, but rather an intensive look at his role in the development and downturn of Atlantic City. The focus of the museum it to tell the story of Trump in the city and all of his casinos, both good and bad aspects. It is not a shrine to Trump, but it is neither an anti-Trump museum.
Levi presented his aspirations for the museum very well. He hopes the museum to be a new revenue stream of the city, which has hit a rough economic time. The part of his presentation that I found most interesting, besides that whole premise of the exhibit, was when he was describing how hard financing these small museum projects can be. Hearing him go in detail about the struggles to secure enough financing, and how he has had to shoulder almost all of the work, clarified how little money there is for small projects. If major museums, as we have seen throughout the semester, struggle with financing, there is even less hope for small museum projects such as this one. Although making this project a reality is definitely an uphill climb, Levi was still excited by the opportunity to tell the story of Trumps time in Atlantic City.