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Friday, 24 January 2014 03:53

Art Museum audit finds no major problems

   The St. Louis Art Museum is well managed and fiscally sound.  That's what auditors are reporting to the St. Louis Zoo-Museum District, the body that oversees property tax disbursements to five, regional cultural institutions.  
   The results of the Art Museum audit are a far cry from the last two audits commissioned by the District.  A 2011 audit of the St. Louis Science Center pointed out five-figure executive bonuses and too many vice presidents.  A 2012 audit of the History Museum raised concerns over a questionable land deal and vacation buy-back for the former museum president.
   By contrast, auditors found no major problems with the way the Art Museum is run. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the examination of the Art Museum revealed an institution with a clear chain of command among its several boards, a litany of policies to account for sales and donations, and enough cash in the bank to pay its bills 16 times over.  
   The Zoo-Museum District oversees the disbursement of about $70 million in property taxes to the Missouri Botanical Garden, History Museum, St. Louis Science Center, Zoo and Art Museum. 
 
 
Published in Local News
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 09:25

History Museum hires first female president

A New Mexico archeologist, considered an accomplished fundraiser and longtime museum director, is the new president of the Missouri History Museum. 
Dr. Frances Levine was officially hired on Tuesday, ending the museum's search for a new leader since the 2012 departure of former embattled president Robert Archibald. Archibald's tenure was tainted with executive pay controversies and a suspect real estate deal. 
The 63 year old Levine, meanwhile, is the first female president of one of St. Louis’s five, tax-supported cultural institutions.
She has a doctorate in anthropology from Southern Methodist University and turned Santa Fe’s Palace of the Governors into the award-winning, 96-thousand square foot, New Mexico History Museum.
Levine will make $260,000 a year in total compensation, compared with the $515,000 made by Archibald. She reports for her new post in St. Louis on April 15.  
Published in Local News
Tuesday, 21 January 2014 14:45

Missouri History Museum names new president

Frances Levine is the new president of the Missouri History Museum.

 

The museum made the announcement today. Levine was the director of the New Mexico History Museum. Levine will receive annual compensation worth $260,000.

 

The Missouri History Museum’s previous president, Dr. Robert Archibald, stepped down in December 2012.

Published in Local News
ST. LOUIS (AP) - The chairman of the aldermanic parks committee in St. Louis says the Zoo-Museum District board needs to "reinvent itself" and become a watchdog organization for taxpayers.
The district oversees the St. Louis region's five taxpayer-funded cultural institutions. Alderman Joe Roddy told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the institutions should be judged on their performance and earn their collective $70 million annually, rather than get the money automatically.
Roddy on Monday released a report concluding that both the Missouri History Museum and the Missouri Botanical Garden should overhaul their governance.
Roddy's investigation was fueled by questions about executive pay at the five museums - the Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis Science Center, St. Louis Zoo and the History Museum.
 
Published in Local News

   There's more trouble for the much-delayed Loop Trolley project.  A federal lawsuit filed Tuesday aims to derail the $43 million dollar project on the grounds that the transportation development district set up to fund it is unconstitutional.  

   The lawsuit claims that giving nonresident property owners votes based on acreage owned violates the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.  Residents were given a single vote.  

   Construction of the streetcar line between the University City Library and the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park is already more than a year behind schedule and the Federal Transit Administration has warned that the area could lose the $22 million "urban circulator" grant it was awarded in 2010.  Developers say that would doom the project.

   The suit names the Loop Trolley Transportation Development District, the Loop Trolley Company, the Metro Transit Agency, the cities of St. Louis and University City, St. Louis County and the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission.

 

Published in Local News
Wednesday, 23 October 2013 07:50

Lindbergh plane lands at Lambert again

A bit of history has returned to St. Louis. A small airplane once owned by Charles Lindbergh is now back on display at Lambert Airport.

Officials from the Missouri History Museum spent hours over the weekend installing the 1934 D-127 Monocoupe aircraft, which hangs once again over the C Concourse in Terminal 1.  

The museum also installed a new interactive kiosk near the plane that displays the history of Lambert and Lindbergh. The plane was originally installed at Lambert in 1979.  It was removed in March 2011 as part of terminal renovations.

Lambert officials say that over the years, the plane accumulated dust and other airborne pollutants so a conservation effort was necessary to make sure the plane was preserved.

Published in Local News
Wednesday, 28 August 2013 10:20

History Museum Commemorates 1963

As the nation commemorates the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King,Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, the Missouri History Museum is highlighting the struggle for equality here in St. Louis. From this evening through Friday, the Museum is highlighting the 1963 protests at the Jefferson Bank, one of the most important chapters in St. Louis civil rights history. Tonight's programs examine banking practices in St. Louis, then and now. There will also be an assembly discussing issues surrounding the Trayvon Martin case. Thursday afternoon there is Civil Disobedience Training and Friday night is a look back at the Jefferson Bank protests. All the programs are free. For more information call: 314-533-2635.

Published in Local News
Tuesday, 12 March 2013 01:49

Loop streetcars get final approval

Streetcars will be returning to the Delmar Loop. Monday evening, the University City Council unanimously approved "conditional use" permits for the Loop Trolley Company.

Plans call for the streetcars to run down Delmar to DeBalivier, then south to the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park.

The project is expected to cost around $40 million, with $25 million coming from a federal grant.

The trolley should be up and running by late summer of 2014.
Published in Around Town
ST. LOUIS (AP) - An appraisal of land purchased by the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis suggests that the museum overpaid by about $615,000.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the appraisal was released Tuesday.

The museum purchased the land from former Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr. in 2006, paying Bosley and a business partner $875,000. The appraisal determined the land's value at about $260,000 at the time, and about $215,000 now.

The land was also contaminated, requiring up to $300,000 for environmental cleanup.

Robert Archibald resigned as museum president in December, though both he and Bosley denied that personal or political connections played a role in the deal.
Published in Local News

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