Editor’s Column: Pioneers, settlers and museum-keepers: which one are you?

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Full disclosure, I stole the title from an old sermon series, but it’s relevant. The basic premise is that there are three types of people: pioneers who are hungry for change and new things, settlers who want to maintain the status quo, and museum-keepers who guard the old ways. All three types — kept in balance — are important and necessary to support a healthy society. Without pioneers we’d all still be living in England under a monarchy. Without settlers we’d still be nomads. Without museum-keepers we wouldn’t have any way to learn from our history.

We all fall into one of these types, to some degree. Today’s pioneers likely aren’t riding off into the wilderness to map out new territory. Modern pioneers are starting new businesses, inventing new technology, and actively working to create new and improved systems of government, education, healthcare, communication and more. Pioneers who get out of control have a tendency to “throw the baby out with the bathwater” and run roughshod over the settlers and the museum-keepers, to everyone’s detriment. 

Modern settlers aren’t starting from scratch to build a homestead on a parcel of land somewhere. Today’s settler-types are deeply entrenched in their communities. They belong to organizations, they serve on boards, they volunteer, and they’re genuinely concerned about the well-being of the places they’ve chosen to call home. But when settlers get out of control, they can turn defensive and power-hungry, bullying both the pioneers and the museum-keepers until they get their way — keeping the status quo.

And then there are the museum-keepers. Modern museum-keepers value history and want to preserve it for future generations to learn from. They might be leading the charge to restore an old building to its former glory, or to salvage historical documents, or to tell the story of some historical figure. When museum-keepers get out of hand, instead of preserving history, they start trying to make everyone live there, ranting against any change or progress, even when it’s for the greater good. 

Working together, in balance, the three types create a healthy, thriving society that grows and progresses and improves organically, while respecting and remembering where it came from. 

A little balance would be pretty nice these days. 

By NIKI TURNER | editor@ht1885.com

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