Civility urged in National Medal of Honor Museum debate as design put on hold
August 21, 2018
The Post and Courier, Dave Munday, 8/21/2018
The final design for the National Medal of Honor Museum will be put on hold for a couple weeks to give critics a chance to come up with an alternative — and hopefully tone down the harsh rhetoric.
That was a message from National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation CEO Joe Daniels at the final community design forum Tuesday night at Wando High School.
Daniels said he would delay further action for two or three weeks after Mayor Will Haynie said during a public meeting Friday that he wanted to get all the stakeholders together to come up with an alternative.
“All that matters … is to make sure this project is successful,” Daniels told about 120 people in the Performing Arts Center.
The design that was confirmed at the meeting was the so-called Pavilion, a smaller version of the original design that the town’s Planning Commission rejected in January because of its height.
Daniels, who was hired in April to come up with a new design, said there has been some harsh language from critics on social media and asked for some civility going forward.
“I know there has been a lot of engaged discussion around the design,” Daniels said. “I want to encourage those who have a different view to conduct our discussion in as civil a manner as possible.”
Consultant David McNair defended the polling process that led to the present design. He said about 700 people participated in three community forums and an online poll, which represents a valid sample.
Architect Moshe Safdie said it was not true that he had a preconceived notion and was impressed by the process to measure the feelings of the community.
He showed renderings of the current Pavilion design with the Yorktown in the background and said it fit in better than the original design, and it certainly fits in with other buildings that have been built or are planned nearby.
“I feel this is the right balance between being in the landscape and honoring the recipients,” he said.
A new design feature is the addition of bridges with glass walls between the five exhibit spaces on the top of the building, to allow panoramic views.
Patrick Gallagher, who designed the exhibits for the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, will also design the interior of the Medal of Honor Museum.
“We need to change every visitor who walks in that museum forever,” Gallagher said at Wando. “Great museums are designed in parallel with great architecture.”