History Museum
1:43 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Archibald Resigns As History Museum President

Updated at 4:45 with comments from ZMD board member Gloria Wessels.

Updated with comments from Zoo-Museum District board member Jerome Glick, and to correct Archibald's tenure at the museum.

The president of the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park has resigned.

A spokesman for the museum confirmed that Robert Archibald submitted his resignation to the chair of the museum's Board of Trustees today. The spokesman, Everett Dietle, did not have any additional information. The board will meet Friday morning at the museum.

Archibald and the museum have been under fire the past few months over a controversial land purchase on Delmar Blvd. and governance of the museum, including Archibald's salary and benefits. Dietle did not known if he will be eligible for more than 400 vacation days he had banked up over his 24 years at the museum.

Gloria Wessels, a member of the board that oversees and distributes tax money to the five institutions in the Zoo-Museum District, called Archibald's resignation good news.

"I really think he has done some very good things," she said. "But I believe that his compensation package, and the land deal, I just think that was far out of line. He was reporting to the trustees, and the taxpayers were not being represented."

She added that she believed the trustees were too close to Archibald and simply fulfilling his recommendations. And she said she'll continue to push for a closer look at the way the History Museum is governed.

Jerome Glick, another Archibald critic, says he was surprised by the announcement. Glick added that he never intended to drive Archibald out, and that his frustration was always with with the lack of transparency at the History Museum.

Archibald's resignation comes as a committee of the Board of Aldermen prepared for hearings on the issues at the History Museum. The chair of that committee, Joseph Roddy, did not return a phone call seeking comment. Wessels, who is the wife of Ald. Fred Wessels, was one of two ZMD commissioners to request the hearings, and says she hopes they go forward.

Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann