Letter Best: Acronym acrimony

April 28, 2013 

What's in a name?

Now that CREHST is closing, could we please think about how we name local facilities?

When the Columbia River Exhibition of History, Science and Technology was opening, I wrote to Gwen Leth to urge consideration of a simpler name. "Just name it for a person, like the Guggenheim," I wrote.

I was too late. Soon the cumbersome name was all but forgotten and we were calling it the CREHST Museum. So it's both an exhibition and a museum, with an acronym pronounced "crest" that doesn't even spell "crest."

Then there's the TRAC in Pasco. Not one in 10 people could tell you that it stands for Trade, Recreation and Agricultural Center. Aside from the mismatch of two nouns (T and R) with an adjective (A), the name is long forgotten and we're calling it the TRAC Center, repeating a word in the acronym as we do with "ATM machine."

Now, planning is under way for the Hanford Reach Interpretive Center. No problem there, right? Except that the shortened name REACH (all caps) implies that it's an acronym, which it isn't.

But does all this matter, really? Soon everything in the Tri-Cities will be named "Gesa" or "HAPO" anyway.


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