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Governor to merge state museum into new agency

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Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is planning to merge the Indiana State Museum, 12 historic sites and state library under one new agency, according to sources close to the museum.

The new agency would be run by an appointee of the governor. This week's resignation by Indiana State Museum CEO Barry Dressel was part of the transition.

Dressel has declined to comment on the reasons .

Officials with organizations that would be affected by Daniels' plan referred calls to the governor's office. Daniels' spokeswoman Jane Jankowski did not respond to IBJ's inquiry Friday morning.

The change would consolidate the chain of command at the museum and historic sites. People who work in those facilities are employed by the Department of Natural Resources, but they answer to a CEO who is hired by the Indiana State Museum Foundation, a private not-for-profit. With Dressel's departure, the foundation has seen five CEOs come and go since 2000.

State Sen. Jim Merritt, an Indianapolis Republican, has advocated for the consolidation for years. He could not be reached for comment this morning. It's unclear what's prompting the governor to make the move now. 

Although the state museum foundation supports exhibits and marketing, the bulk of the museum's funding comes from taxpayer dollars, about $6 million this fiscal year. While the foundation has historically hired or fired the museum's chief executive, the governor does have some authority in the matter. The CEO also answers to a governor-appointed board of trustees, including DNR Commissioner Rob Carter.

Carter announced to his staff on Wednesday that Dressel had resigned and that longtime museum employee Kathleen McLary would serve as "interim division director." A DNR spokesman and Indiana State Museum Foundation Chairman Greg Pemberton both referred questions to Daniels' office.

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  • Not Without Precedent
    On the national level, the National Endowment for the Arts merged two separate divisions into one, The Institute for Museum and Library Services.
  • Confusing
    OMG! This is almost as confusing/frustrating as trying to get to the ISM/IMAX Bunker!

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  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.

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