The Volo Auto Museum in northern Illinois plans to keep displaying one of the Confederate flag-emblazoned cars used in the TV series “The Dukes of Hazzard."
Brian Grams, museum director, says he’s gotten lots queries about whether the car will stay amid calls around the country for Confederate flags to be removed from public display after the fatal shooting of nine black people at a church in Charleston, S.C.
He says if any location is appropriate for the displaying the flag, it’s a museum. But he also thinks lawmakers are right to debate the flag’s presence on government grounds.
“We are a museum, a place where people can view and learn about history,’’ Grams said in a statement. “History is not a book to be edited where you can just keep the parts you like and erase the parts you do not like. The TV show happened. The General Lee wore a Confederate flag. ... Erasing it will not change the facts.’’
Warner Bros. produced the hit TV show and said last week it would stop licensing memorabilia relating the show, including die-cast replicas of the General Lee.
The museum’s car is a 1969 Dodge Charger that was bought by Warner Bros. in 1978 for use during the first season of the show while it was being filmed in Georgia. The car was never used on camera. However, Grams is making a bid to preserve the historical significance of the very first version seen in the show’s opening titles.
That original car is owned by professional golfer Bubba Watson, who recently announced his plans to paint over the car’s Confederate flag with an American flag. As he said about the General Lee he already owns, Grams emphasizes that his desire is not to make any political statement about the Confederate flag but simply to preserve a piece of TV history.
While Watson bought his car at auction for $110,000 in 2012, Grams ballparked the value of the museum’s at about $250,000.
Learn more about the museum at http://www.volocars.com.