I read with interest Nick Coleman's assertion that the whole, controversial history of Fort Snelling be told to visitors instead of the edited versions we're given now ("Fort Snelling: State's cradle -- and stain,'' June 6). My reaction: Fat chance of that happening. Historian Bruce White was right when he told Coleman the Minnesota Historical Society "wants to tell a safe, happy story to kids.'' Unlike Europe, Britain and elsewhere where you can see a small but visible percentage of contemplative, childless adults visiting cathedrals and historic sites for their personal education and interest, America treats is cultural places like glorified amusement parks. Minnesota children are trotted out to Fort Snelling and the State Capitol at the age of 10, too young to fully understand much beyond the loud cannons or care beyond, "When do we eat?'' Most don't come back until they are distracted, harried parents, or they never come back at all. I don't really blame the museums, zoos and historical sites for turning themselves into Disneylands. Their economic struggles have been going on for a lot longer than the past two years, and when 98 percent of your audience is under 12 you're forced to serve up the sterilized pabulum adults feel is appropriate for tender ears. But until Minnesota adults stop thinking of their state's history and culture as being the almost sole province of children, the complex arguments will never make an appearance inside the forts, museums or zoos.

ROBIN JOHNSON, ALEXANDRIA