The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

MacKay dismissed as Smithsonian exhibit director


To the Editor:

I received the startling news that Mara MacKay was dismissed, or rather DAP-smissed, as the area Smithsonian “The Way We Worked” exhibit director.

With a vendetta forming over someone who helped to create and deliver huge, golden opportunities for Ironwood and the Gogebic Range, we risk losing our momentum. We can’t further fragment our already fragmented community.

We “were” coming together. Now, we are coming apart. It’s that simple.

At times, Ironwood is a sandbox full of brats. Everybody wants everyone else’s toys. Seems some of our fine citizens have problems with an intelligent, talented and driven woman calling the shots when that’s exactly what these projects call for. The layman hasn’t the foggiest notion of the logistical details required for making projects like these, successful.

Having differences of opinion with MacKay shouldn’t be seen as a pretext for termination, but a learning opportunity. Smithsonian materials will arrive, yet minus heart, spirit and community, it’s only a pretty shell sitting at the Downtown Art Place.

A woman with single-minded determination did something for us that we couldn’t even dream about before her arrival, and now we are punishing her? I’m sure some people think they can make this exhibit happen, but that’s what MacKays are for, and now we killed her off and the rest of us suffer from the negative actions of others.

There are too many divided interests “as is” and we have forgotten how to pull together as a set of communities. MacKay was bringing people together. Now the Downtown Art Place, with this senseless decision, is creating destructive divisions.

We need to learn via opportunities if Ironwood is ever going to have a fiscal future from heritage tourism or similar projects.

Historically, Ironwood made strides when a visionary was in charge. James Arthur O’Neil, our beloved mayor, was often unpopular and reviled but he did it for the collective good. Luther L. Wright, Ironwood’s visionary educator, chaired the Michigan state Board of Education and came against opposition.

In the end, persistent intelligence prevailed for both. Yet, why when someone with vision attempts to bring a positive vision to fruition in Ironwood, do some want to steal the harvest and get rid of the farmer? We can either be facilitated by someone who “can” lead or we end up with those who “can’t” because we won’t back a visionary and a strong leader.

Larry Peterson



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