The name may be bland, but the South Florida Museum in Bradenton is doing big things! The Chief Penguin and I were delighted to be at their groundbreaking this week for a new addition. It’s an education wing with several new classrooms along with the Mosaic Backyard Universe. The classrooms will enable them to build on the wonderful partnerships they already have with the local schools and the Backyard Universe is an innovative indoor and outdoor space that will provide new ways for younger children to explore their world. The new center adds more exciting development to downtown Bradenton (the museum is practically on the Riverwalk) and will attract families with very young children. It’s a win for everyone!
The project has been in the works for more than five years and there are a number of forward-looking leaders and partners who’ve made it happen. Current leadership includes two stellar women, museum CEO Brynne Anne Besio and board chair, Jeanie Kirkpatrick. It was great too to see the museum’s class of kindergarten children wielding their own little shovels.
I like films about journalists and the press and I will see any film that stars Meryl Streep. Predisposed toward The Post as I was, I found it excellent! Meryl Streep is superb as Katharine Graham and Tom Hanks captures gung-ho editor Ben Bradlee. It was also fun to see Matthew Rhys of “The Americans” showing up as Daniel Ellsburg.
But Streep gets my vote for conveying all aspects of Graham. Graham was a product of her time, a woman who was raised to be a wife and mother and therefore, invisible; she was a gracious and skilled hostess, and she, like her late husband, was a friend to politicians and presidents. She never expected to be thrust into the job of publisher and in the critical scene where Graham must decide what to do, Streep’s lips purse, her face wrinkles, she hesitates, and you feel the thought process as this woman weighs all she and the paper stand to lose and what might be gained. In that instant, Graham becomes a publisher to reckon with.
There are some other marvelous scenes too: when she’s the lone woman meeting with the bankers and when she has a telling and poignant conversation with her good friend Robert McNamara.
I remember the controversy surrounding the “Pentagon Papers” and so probably did other moviegoers as the audience clapped at the end of the film. With all the castigation of the press today and the emphasis on “fake news” by some, this film about freedom of the press is a must-see! I also recommend Graham’s autobiography, Personal History, published in 1997.
Note: Photo of Graham from cronkitehhh.jmc.asu.edu