Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Bonnie & Clyde Ambush Museum-- What A Difference One Person Can Make.

For those who remember and for those who unfortunately never had the privilege-- to many, The Original Bonnie & Clyde Ambush Museum in Gibsland, Louisiana, was thought an historical beacon of integrity without reservation-- and known far & wide, for the  imparting of a quite "cool" brand of Bonnie & Clyde knowledge and experience.  However, now-- well let's just say, some close to Bonnie & Clyde History-- believe the renewed museum far less than that.. with a self-imposed closing or moving date of October 31st, having been revealed to the media in Shreveport.  But after such a long run.. how could a museum newly acquired just 8 months ago, be in danger of failure or relocation??

For years, the museum known mostly for museum-goer's interactions with L. J. "Boots" Hinton, but also as a mainstay for The annual Authentic Bonnie & Clyde Festival in Gibsland--  was respected and revered.  Also many friendships and shared camaraderie among Bonnie & Clyde aficionados and historians alike, was commonplace concerning the museum.  But now.. that entity seems more a hotbed for controversy-- with heated accusations involving impropriety and the crafting of historical untruth masquerading as authenticity, positioned like hurdles to overcome stretching into the distance.  And I don't think many would disagree, in looking to the new museum's website-- for it does seem evident.. it's focus appears more a conduit for sales revenue rather than history.

But with "Boots" Hinton still there although in a more reserved role now-- what's the difference??  To me, Ken Holmes was the difference.  May God rest your soul in peace Ken.  During his tenure as founder and owner.. Ken cared to do right by Bonnie & Clyde History, and thus would never do anything to weaken it, but only strengthen it.  He also had a respectable working relationship with the landlord, who still owns the old Rosa's Cafe building in Gibsland.. a relationship which allowed for the museum to not always thrive.. but stay viable, to carry on in it's most unique role for Bonnie & Clyde History. 

But now despite a self-serving video seemingly attempting to shift focus away from it's issues-- and some most recent posturing to make it appear "all is well"-- the reality is, the museum has named a closing or moving date which aired on Shreveport area TV and is approaching.  And so too is rain.. for those in the know, know-- the museum's roof is likely the issue most critical concerning survival or not.. with a forecast  via Accuweather, for 9 days of rain prior to October's end in Gibsland-- and with Winter on the horizon.

he downturn and possible downfall or relocation of the Ambush Museum is in many ways a shame.  But in other ways, for those who have raised impassioned historical red flags in defense of integrity within this history-- the museum facing life & death challenges is not unexpected.  As I see it, these Bonnie & Clyde "defenders of right" have backed their accusations with evidence which seems irrefutable.. "and" without public denial by the museum, sans a blurb or 2 on the museum's Facebook page.. who's public limitations, it seems works just fine for them. 

For some have thought it fair to ask.. who buys a museum??--

> without a sustained effort to buy the building it's housed within..

> with known roof issues..

> apparently without a lease, and now sporting a publicly visible rift with the building's owner..  

> and where the backing of locals who could be valuable allies, seems anything but assured..

Then add in the alleged historical issues.. "shake well" and "Ta Dah".. the museum as it sits today-- with buckets admittedly deployed to catch rainfall, as if tears of historical conscience or lack of it??  Historical conscience is good.. yes it is. 

And in having reported on this monumental tug-o-war within the Bonnie & Clyde Historical community for a while now.. and having weighed evidence along with rebuttal (what little there's been)-- I'm reminded of that famous political debate between Lloyd Bentsen and Dan Quayle in '88, when Quayle so remarkably evoked the name of Jack Kennedy.

Well, on behalf of those I respect in Bonnie & Clyde History, including Ken, who I wish was still with us.. I'll do my best to paraphrase that telling moment. 

"Mr. Carver-- You're no Ken Holmes".


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