Examining Community Museum opposes Reading through Faculty District approach to alter museum management

The Studying Community Museum is geared up to lawfully problem the Looking through School District’s approach to request an additional entity to manage and function the museum, the museum director explained Tuesday.

On Monday, the Looking through Public Museum Foundation, which manages the museum, introduced it would shift parts of the collection stored at the museum but not on show to the Wells Fargo constructing in downtown Reading starting in the spring.

The go is meant to defend the collection from environmental dangers this sort of as flooding and also making deficiencies that have influenced the museum at its current spot in close proximity to the Wyomissing Creek in Studying about the earlier quite a few yrs, basis officials explained.

The school district responded Monday night by declaring it is looking for proposals for an additional entity to work and deal with the museum. The district also claimed the foundation is not fulfilling its mission. The district owns the making and grounds.

The museum will continue being open to the public, officers reported Monday, as extensive as the facility continues to be legally available.

John Graydon Smith

John Graydon Smith, museum director and CEO, explained Tuesday that the current museum agreement does not allow for this kind of a change in management devoid of a variety of lawful steps staying taken initial.

“They are disregarding the agreement,” he explained of the college district’s announcement. “We’re thoroughly blown away by this.”

If the school district continues to try to alter museum administration, the basis is all set to oppose that go in court, he mentioned.

A few diverse organizations oversee the museum, in accordance to an agreement authorised in Berks County Orphans Court docket in 1991.

The district owns the developing and grounds.

The Looking through Public Museum and Artwork Gallery, a corporation composed of college board customers, owns the museum’s collection, and the basis oversees the everyday functions of the museum.

The settlement authorized the basis to use the corporation’s assortment and the district’s buildings and grounds for no cost as extended as the foundation operated the museum and paid for the repairs of the making and grounds.

The museum’s panic, Graydon Smith said, is that the faculty district now strategies to sell art pieces to assist harmony its spending budget.

The museum is not the constructing, but the selection alone, he mentioned. For that reason the foundation is organized to secure that selection from the aspects as effectively as the university district, he stated.

He said general public suggestions he’s received in the previous couple times shows the local community also opposes a change in who operates the museum.

District solicitor John Miravich mentioned Tuesday: “This is a authorized subject, even so, based mostly on the recognized 1991 agreement, the District has a ideal to protect taxpayer bucks, the integrity of the selection, and the eyesight of Dr. Mengel. Relocating ahead with the RFQ is in that finest desire.

“The Reading through College District is not looking to offer the selection to stability its finances, as Mr. Smith implied. Rather, the district is in search of a partner to regulate the museum facility. The district has regularly authorised well balanced budgets and experienced an unprecedented monetary turnaround in the previous 10 years, as observed by former Auditor Common Eugene DePasquale.”

On Monday, Miravich observed that the museum was designed with taxpayer money with the intention of serving Examining students and their family members, that the residence is owned by a company run by university board members, and that the foundation is a private entity that does not remedy to taxpayers.

He termed it a failure to dwell up to the intent of museum founder Dr. Levi Mengel, who founded it as an instructional resource for the folks of Studying.

The basis filed a lawsuit in Berks County Orphans Court in 2017 in an endeavor to amend the 1991 arrangement. That lawsuit has absent nowhere.

Miravich also pointed out that in an qualified report furnished to the Berks County Board of Evaluation, the Shuman Development Group — which strategies to finish its acquire of the Wells Fargo making Could 1 — sought a home tax reduction for the developing based partly on the building’s recent affliction.

The report referred to a necessary enhance or substitute of the rubber roof.

Shuman on Tuesday acknowledged the roof needs get the job done, but mentioned it is not leaking, and that the situation would be fixed before the museum commences shifting its collection in.