The Story of the Stuff: Issues in Temporary Memorial Preservation

The Town Assessor

Chris Kelsey worked as the Newtown assessor but found himself managing the logistics of the preservation process after the tragedy. After several months of managing the warehouse that stored the stuff--which soon totaled over 65,000 teddy bears along with tens of thousands of other donations, Kelsey had an opinion about what should be done in the long run: 

"The stuff that was at the memorial was all to be sacred soil. Originally [the plan] was the burn everything and then take the ashes so it would be a permanent part of a permanent park."

There's nothing wrong with putting it on display, but speaking from somebody who has dealt with it, I don't need to. I think putting it in concrete is a better way to preserve it than putting it on display for fifty, sixty years, what do you do with it then?"

In a digital world, I think the pictures are really good, because you can put it out there in a digital environment and everybody gets to enjoy them. We don't necessarily need to set aside a museum. ...Living through all the letters, it was kind of like living in a wake."

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