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Missed Art Museums

October 19, 1986

As an art historian who is immensely grateful for the resources and personal assistance available in the truly specialized museums in New Orleans' Vieux Carre, I take exception to free-lance writer Carol P. Smith's article on special museums in the French Quarter (Sept. 28). Apparently in the struggle to include a few offbeat "gee-whiz" attractions, the writer not only strayed outside the historic quarter to find another, but neglected to mention the majority of genuine specialized museums in the Vieux Carre.

A number of these are part of the Louisiana State Museum complex. There are other historic buildings and homes nearby, also part of the complex. In her description of the former U.S. Mint the writer failed to mention two other important research centers housed within it; the Louisiana Historical Center has books, manuscripts, maps and other state archives, and the Amistad Research Center has the largest archive of American black and other ethnic history in the nation.

Perhaps the writer's greatest oversight was the failure to mention the Historic New Orleans Collection of fine and decorative art in 10 galleries, a private nonprofit institution in historic Merieult House.

JAMES B. BYRNES

Los Angeles

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