A letter from Alice Pike Larsen (July 17) called into question the judgment of the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum. It seems inappropriate for such a letter to be published without verifying the museum's point of view.
Jedediah Smith is, of course, a historical figure of the American West. That is the precise reason why Mrs. Larsen was contacted by the museum. It is a shame that she has no artifacts of her ancestor's life; such material would be of great interest.
Mrs. Larsen painted a portrait of Smith, but the museum expressed no interest in buying this work because as a modern work it does not have historical significance to qualify it for exhibition alongside the great Bierstadt, Remington, Catlin and other works to be shown at the museum.
The Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum is dedicated to the collecting of quality artifacts, which allow us to interpret significant elements of the history of the West. Perhaps other readers of your column have such items which should be preserved for future generations.
JAMES H. NOTTAGE
Nottage is curator of the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum.