Fly Fishing Museum Goes Ahead With Cheney Invitation

February 24, 2009 By: Marshall Cutchin

Moments ago we spoke with Cathi Comar, the executive director of the American Museum of Fly Fishing, and learned that the Museum has gone ahead with their invitation to former Vice President Dick Cheney to attend their annual fundraiser dinner in the fall. The decision was reached late last week but not made public until now. Cheney has accepted and will attend. Comar explained that the Museum board discussed the decision at length over the past several weeks and ultimately decided that since the Museum’s role was historical, their primary duty is to record and preserve artifacts of fly fishing history. When asked about Cheney’s obviously negative impact on fisheries conservation, Ms. Comar replied that the Museum chooses not to take sides on political or environmental issues. “Although we work with conservation organizations,” she said, “conservation itself is outside of our role.”
In a board-approved letter to the many fly fishers who have complained about the Museum’s decision, Comar notes that the Museum has never allowed political reputations to influence its decisions about whether to include and display the fishing equipment of the various presidents or vice presidents. “Our premier traveling exhibition, Anglers All: Humanity in Midstream, highlights the fly fishing paraphernalia of former presidents Carter, Coolidge, Hoover, Eisenhower, F. D. Roosevelt, and George H.W. Bush. Controversy attended the administrations of each of these men. We did not vet any of these contributions using a standard of political popularity nor could we serve the Museum’s overarching purpose had we done so. The Museum’s commitment to the total history of fly fishing is inclusive.”