made-in-americaI am not sure how I feel about this, but two congresspersons from New York have introduced legislation that would make it mandatory for all merchandise sold at National Park Service and other sites to be made in America. Part of me is dismayed when I see items on sale at a historic site that are made outside the country; another part of me takes it in stride as a reality of contemporary life. I am not looking for authenticity in my keychain; that comes from the site itself. It is difficult to tell at this stage if this is a bit of political grandstanding or if it is intended to go anywhere. If it is the latter, I hope they think it through. I would not mind seeing a lot of the cheap trinkets gone from the shops of our various cultural institutions, but who know what worthwhile may get excluded if such legislation were to pass? It seems there are many considerations to work out. The way I understand it, superintendents at the over 400 national parks and monuments currently have the authority to select what can be sold in their Eastern National stores. More guidelines could take away their flexibility and autonomy. It will be especially interesting to see how this one turns out with the NPS centennial just three years away. This is a story I will be following.