It is a shame when the experts are around the corner, yet school administrators chose to seek expertise from outside sources without consulting expert professors on campus.
The John P. Murtha Center for Public Works contains objects and artifacts donated by Murtha’s family to better tell the story of Murtha’s life.
The center’s exhibits allow people to remember his contributions and learn from his life. However, sometimes, ignorance might ruin things.
Paul Newman, an early American history professor, said that the History Department faculty was not consulted, nor asked to be part of the planning of the center, and he pointed out that there are many mistakes in the way the gallery was designed, punctuation errors in the descriptions, and no protection on some display cases.
We think that it is not only of waste of expertise on campus, but also disrespectful to the experts already in-house. Hiring people from outside and making these mistakes are redundant and ineffective.
Not only did this problem happen with the Murtha center, it also happened when the mural and its artist were selected for a Pitt-Johnstown statement in the city’s Kernville neighborhood.
However, the final product does not seem to meet any but the lowest expectations.
Similar to when the John P. Murtha Center was built, Art history professor Valerie Grash said she was not Consulted for input on the mural content or the artist’s selection.
We appreciate that administrators value these projects and wanted them to be professional, and we are not against hiring outside professionals to complete the projects, but we believe that the campus experts should at least be involved in the project planning if not its execution.
They have the experience and expertise to offer valuable opinions and another pair of eyes can spot problem that may not have been noticed otherwise.
Resources on campus should be utilized. Consulting professors on campus also builds on the institutions’ credibility. If administrators refuse to recognize the faculty’s expertise, who should recognize their expertise?