Zoo-Museum District

Courtesy of Portfolio Gallery

A member of the St. Louis Zoo-Museum District board is reviving the prospect of a new subdistrict of black arts organizations.

An amendment to House Bill 186, passed by the Missouri legislature in 2005, allows the creation of the African American History Museum and Cultural District. But adding it to the ZMD would have to be approved by popular vote — and an election can cost  up to $1 million — so the issue has languished for nine years.

meeting with science center
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

The controversy over a contract between the St. Louis Science Center and a design firm doesn’t seem to be going away.

In April, Zoo-Museum District board member Pat Whitaker resigned following conflict-of-interest allegations stemming from the Science Center awarding a contract to Arcturis, a company she founded.

On Thursday, ZMD board member Charles Valier again criticized Science Center dealings with the firm at a budget-presentation meeting at the Center.

Thomas Campbell
Provided by the Zoo Museum District

Members of a committee charged with reviewing the St. Louis Zoo-Museum District’s ethics code ended their first meeting Monday on a harmonious note.

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.

imges 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.

imges 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.

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