Zoo-Museum District

The ZMD Board met at the St. Louis Art Museum May 8.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

  Everyone on the St. Louis Zoo-Museum District board agrees its ethics code should be re-evaluated. But the question of who should review it has become a heated internal debate.

During a recent meeting, board chair Thelma Cook asked board members Tom Campbell, Ben Uchitelle and Charles Valier to serve on a committee to examine the ethics policy. Cook named Campbell the committee chair.

Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

Free admission to St. Louis’ cultural institutions for non-residents could be a thing of the past if talk by the Zoo-Museum District board members turns to action.

On Wednesday night, the board discussed the possibility of charging admission to the Zoo, Art Museum, Science Center and other attractions in response to a report by St. Louis City Alderman Joe Roddy.

Admission would remain free for people who live in St. Louis and St. Louis County.

Images from zoo museum district entities
File photos and Wikipedia

The very existence of St. Louis’ Zoo-Museum District could be at stake in a debate over its ethics code, according to a national expert on tax funding and cultural districts.

Images from zoo museum district entities
File photos and Wikipedia

New Zoo-Museum District board member Pat Whitaker resigned this afternoon following allegations of ethics violations.

Whitaker is chairman of St. Louis’ Arcturis design firm, which recently won a contract with the St. Louis Science Center. The Science Center is a subdistrict of the ZMD and receives about $10 million each year in tax dollars from the district. She had resigned as an employee of Arcturis, but still owns 37 percent of its stock.

St. Louis Art Museum, looking to the west
Provided by the Art Museum

Visitors to the St. Louis Art Museum will see some changes in the museum's Panorama restaurant.

The museum is looking closely at the menu, service and kitchen operations after a six-month review observed a $260,000 loss. The red ink was noted in a Zoo-Museum District audit of the museum, released last week.

Night view of art museum (2008)
File photo | Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon

A draft of an audit of the St. Louis Art Museum has turned up no significant issues at that institution, according to board members of the Zoo-Museum District.

Previous audits ordered by the ZMD — for the Science Center and the Missouri History Museum — revealed information that led to shakeups in leadership and changes in governance.

Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon

A report sharply criticizing St. Louis’ Zoo-Museum District (ZMD) was adopted by the parks committee of the city’s board of aldermen Thursday.

Alderman Joe Roddy, parks committee chair, released a draft of the report this week following a year of investigation.

photo of frances levine
From video by Nancy Fowler

A solid round of applause welcomed Frances Levine as she entered the meeting that finalized her presidency of the Missouri History Museum on Tuesday. Shortly afterward, she also received kudos from her home in Santa Fe, where she’s been director of the New Mexico History Museum for more than 10 years.

photo of
Blair Clark | Museum of New Mexico

The Missouri History Museum has named Frances Levine, director of the New Mexico History Museum, as as its new president and CEO.

Levine, 63, will become not only the first woman to lead the museum but the first woman to head any institution of the St. Louis Zoo-Museum District. Her contract was approved this morning in a meeting of the museum's board of trustees and members of the ZMD museum subdistrict.


A report released this afternoon by St. Louis city prosecutor Jennifer Joyce has cleared the Missouri History Museum of all allegations of criminal activity. But the report also scolded the museum for questionable behaviors.

photo of John Roberts
Provided by Missouri History Museum

The Missouri History Museum could name a new president early next month after narrowing the field of Bob Archibald's possible successors to two candidates.

In a Monday meeting of the board of trustees, board chairman John Roberts announced that the museum plans to bring each candidate to St. Louis just after the new year. The week of Jan. 6 is under consideration if the prospects are available. No further information about the candidates was revealed.

(Via Flikr/Derringsdo)

Commissioners of the Zoo-Museum District, on September 30, voted to raise the property tax rate that funds five St. Louis cultural institutions to the highest level permitted by state law.  Those institutions are the St. Louis Zoo, the Missouri Botanical Garden, Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis Science Center and Missouri History Museum.

St. Louis Science Center

At least one member of the public board that oversees the five cultural institutions in the Zoo-Museum District in St. Louis says it's time to think about charging some visitors to enter the St. Louis Zoo, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis Science Center, St. Louis Art Museum and the Missouri History Museum.

(via Wikimedia Commons)

A former senior vice president of St. Louis-based technology company Emerson has been tapped as the temporary leader of the Missouri History Museum post.

Bob Cox will serve as a part-time consultant to the museum until December 31, though the contract can be terminated early if a full-time president is found before then. Cox will receive $85 an hour for his work, but is not eligible for health care or other benefits.

Credit (via Flickr/Reading Tom)

Updated at 8:00 p.m. with statement from Missouri History Museum.

The prosecutor in the city of St. Louis will look into some of the governance and oversight issues plaguing the Missouri History Museum.

"Upon request, we have agreed to review concerns brought to the St. Louis Board of Aldermen in connection with the Missouri History Museum. At this point, it would be inappropriate to discuss this matter further," Jennifer Joyce said in an written statement. 

(via Wikimedia Commons)

While Robert Archibald is stepping down as president of the Missouri History Museum, he will be getting a financial payout of close to a million dollars.

The museum’s board of trustees accepted Archibald’s resignation on Friday.

Despite the circumstances of his departure, Archibald himself will still be receiving a payout of $566,000 for unused vacation, plus $270,000 for a six-month consult contract.  All told, $836,000, as he walks out the door.

Courtesy Mo. History Museum

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.

Credit (via Flickr/Reading Tom)

It appears as though a couple of members of one of the oversight boards for the Missouri History Museum are getting their wish. The Board of Aldermen appears poised to jump into the fray over the way the museum is being run.

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Several months of scrutiny into the management of the Missouri History Museum has resulted in little change.  The commissioners of the St. Louis Zoo-Museum District have voted not to accept an audit committee report calling for tougher governance of the museum.

A vote to accept an audit committee report resulted in a 4-4 tie, meaning the motion failed.

The museum has been at the center of a months-long controversy involving a cozy relationship between embattled Museum President Bob Archibald and his board of trustees.

ZMD Board Says History Museum Needs Complete Overhaul

Nov 8, 2012
Credit (via Flickr/Reading Tom)

The board charged with distributing taxpayer funds to the five members of the St. Louis Zoo-Museum District says the Missouri History Museum needs a complete restructuring.  The Zoo-Museum District was created to oversee public funding for the St. Louis Zoo, the St. Louis Art Museum, the St. Louis Science Center, the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Missouri History Museum.

The ZMD Audit Committee met Thursday and claim the reforms recommended for the History Museum by former Senator Jack Danforth do not go far enough.