Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Kansas City Museum audit delayed again, split with Union Station on its way

Posted By on Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 1:07 PM

The Kansas City Museum may split with Union Station
  • The Kansas City Museum may split with Union Station.

A long-awaited audit discussion regarding Union Station's management of the Kansas City Museum was supposed to happen Wednesday before the Kansas City Finance, Ethics and Governance Committee. But members of that committee agreed to postpone it until at least after Labor Day. One thing seemed clear from Wednesday's meeting: The Kansas City Museum won't be under the auspices of Union Station for much longer.

Committee chairwoman Jan Marcason said discussions have been under way to see about ending the complicated relationship that the Kansas City Museum has with Union Station, which operates the museum at the northeast's Corinthian Hall. That relationship proved itself to be a tumultuous one when on-site director Christopher Leitch was abruptly fired early in July, a decision made by Union Station president and CEO George Guastello.

Leitch attended the Wednesday meeting but did not speak before council members. The reason for his firing is still not entirely clear. On Wednesday, Maracson said she did not know. She's also a member of the Kansas City Museum Advisory Board.

"We have increasingly become aware that to finalize the stabilization and viability of Corinthian Hall ... a significant amount of fundraising needs to take place," Marcason said.

Significant, as in about $20 million.

Kansas City has already plunked down $10 million toward the renovation of Corinthian Hall.

"What we don't have is any innards," Marcason said.

Innards, as in exhibits and other displays and interior work for the old building.

Plans are under way to establish a nonprofit entity to help with fundraising and to gain museum accreditation, which the Kansas City Museum currently lacks and may have trouble attaining under the auspices of Union Station.

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