Ghosts of Anti-Fascism Past

A Museum to Money

A cheerful young docent began our tour of the Wells Fargo Museum in downtown San Francisco with a ‘Q&A’: How many pioneers can that stagecoach, around which we sit, hold? Ten? Fifteen? The answer ended up being a seemingly impossible number (thirty-something I recall) and our cheerful guide continued loading our fifth-graders from Marin County onto the wagon, one by one, until collectively they resembled a terrifying creature with multiple protruding heads and limbs, rolling and writhing about in search of gold and prey.

At least that’s how I imagine many Native Americans, on first encounter, must have viewed them.

The museum was everything you might expect from a tourist trap devoted to a bank: a dumbed-down chronology of technological innovation and capital accumulation scrubbed of offending data, social conflict, or critical consciousness but with nods to major historical periods (the depression) and the bank’s prescient…

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