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The scandal at the Smithsonian continues, according to the New York Times.
James M. Hobbins, who served as executive assistant to the secretary of the Smithsonian destroyed the minutes from a January Board of Regents meeting in which the board discussed the compensation package of Lawrence M. Small. Small later resigned as secretary in March after an investigation into his housing allowance and other personal expenses that were covered by the institution.
The Washington Post reported Mr. Hobbins's resignation and the destruction of the document yesterday. A Smithsonian spokesperson, Linda St. Thomas, emphasized that Mr. Hobbins, a 40-year veteran of the Smithsonian, had destroyed the initial transcripts of such board meetings as a matter of course since the 1980s, once the full formal minutes were prepared.
It's sticker shock for taxpayers in Salt Lake City , where the new multi-faceted museum project, the Leonardo (the former Main Library), is going to cost $33 million dollars, thirteen million more than originally projected.
Mayor Rocky Anderson is pushing the plan - he has sent e-mails to City Council members - and insiders are scrambling to lobby for a sales-tax revenue bond. The term would extend 20 years.
Mary Tull, Leonardo's director, points to staggering spikes on everything from seismic stabilization and asbestos removal to certifying the building as environmentally sound.
"We have been struggling with the architects and the city to try to get the architectural budget down during this horrendous scope of inflation," Tull said. "It's unreal."
Some priceless mementoes of our sixteenth president, including one of only three extant stovepipe hats, will now be housed in his Library and Museum in Springfield IL, thanks to a large acquisition from private donor Louise Taper of Beverly Hills,California. Taper began her fascination with Lincoln as a young mother upon reading Irving Stone's 'Love Is Eternal' (reference this article from American Heritage Magazine.)
In response to the news of the acquisition from the State Journal-Register, one reader (Lincoln Buff) comments "Taper's "addiction" to collecting all things Lincoln began when, as a young person working for a manuscript company, she took her pay in Lincoln documents and the collection had its start. Its exponential growth through her persistence is phenomenal. Thank you, Louise, for your foresight and diligence in bringing these items together. Thanks to both you and the ALPLM for keeping the collection together and bringing it home before the 2009 bicentennial of Lincoln's birth."
darakat writes "It appears that the British Natural History Museum have been doing something a bit naughty buy testing on Australian aboriginal remains despite agreeing that it would stop. "The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (TAC) has been negotiating with the museum for the return of the remains since 2000. The museum agreed to the request last year, but it subsequently started scientific testing on the culturally-sensitive material. The British High Court is currently in a case with the TAC and the British Natural History Museum on weather or not the remains should be returned. The case has some possible impacts for museums worldwide as it could set a precedent for the return of many remains otherwise that would be kept in the hands of museums as opposed to their traditional (or other) owners.
The boro of Queens in New York City may become the first location to have an art museum with a full-sized branch library inside. Boards for both organizations are currently in talks to approve the proposal, and if all goes according to plan, the completed structure will open in 2010. The Museum is currently housed in a building built in 1939 for the World's Fair in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Story from the New York Daily News.
Anonymous Patron writes "The largest, most comprehensive collection of books by and about Charles Darwin has been bought by the Natural History Museum, London. Known as the Kohler Darwin Collection, it includes almost everything Darwin published from 1829 onwards. Highlights of the collection include:
* first edition of On the Origin of Species presentation copy and the accompanying handwritten letter Darwin sent to W B Tegetmeier, a poultry expert, pigeon fancier and naturalist who helped Darwin with his studies
* a rare copy of Zoology of the Voyage of HMS Beagle, bound in original cloth in three volumes
* 470 different editions of On the Origin of Species in 28 languages plus Braille, which is more editions than have ever previously been brought together More Here"
search-engines-web writes "...there are up to 1.7 million soldiers who belong on the list. So they're putting out a call: If you or a family member has been awarded the Purple Heart, they want you. More precisely, they want your information for the most comprehensive list of American military sacrifice." Read the full story.
kmccook writes "Musematic
Rants and raves on the latest trends in the world of museum informatics and technology. An intrepid cast of experts from the Museum Computer Network and AAM's Media & Technology Committee share their insights, observations and tricks of the trade."
Today's All Things Considered (audio link, see also ABC News for text coverage) investigates a contract the Smithsonian Institution made with Showtime, granting some exclusive rights to the network. The deal is raising the hackles of some filmmakers.
Compare to the for-profit publishing of government documents, Coke's sponsorship of the Library of Congress, and the much-maligned NIH proposal to make tax-funded research public (or the hawking of virgin forests or arctic wildlife habitats, but I digress).
Is the government selling rights to national treasures off like this warranted?