My Gothic Revival home, saved from urban renewal, made space for a Holiday Inn across from two historic buildings, the McLellan and Clapp houses, the L.D.M. Sweat Memorial, and 142 Free St., together forming Portland Museum of Art’s campus.

The 1961 Union Station demolition prompted the formation of Greater Portland Landmarks. In reference to the current Free Street conundrum, charges of preservationists overreaching and trying to stop development have been levied for years. Who is to win this argument that never seems to stop?

Former PMA Director Dan O’Leary, in an April 26 opinion piece, brought important concerns to light, including questioning whether a large expansion will lift the PMA out of financial underperformance. I also question the need for such an extravagant extension. Moving the museum shop to Free Street could free up space for “teaser” exhibits of items in storage, still leaving space for offices.

Does an $85 million, seven-story addition seem reasonable when conservation today dominates? Honoring the Wabanaki culture and ethnic diversity is best done with exhibits, not rooftop gardens.

Are financial donors looking for monuments with their names attached? Who will staff these additions? I am suspicious of West Coast architects who are not cognizant of New England weather patterns. And whether there will be increasing numbers of visitors because of this expansion is questionable, as boatloads of seasonal visitors likely won’t visit our museums, as they have plenty of food and entertainment on board.

Marta Morse

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