Museum and Don Muchmore

Your article on conflict at the California Museum of Science and Industry failed to make clear just how important the contribution of the California Museum Foundation is to the quality of the institution. Virtually all of the resources for the renaissance of the outdated, run-down museum came from the fund-raising of the foundation under the leadership of Muchmore. It confirms our lowest expectations of state bureaucrats that they should be so antagonistic to a group of volunteers who have produced huge donations to support a state institution.

I worked for Don Muchmore as chief curator from 1982 through 1987, during its expansion and renovation into a state-of-the-art science center. He brought an energetic, goal-driven style into a somnolent bureaucracy. Your description of him as "imperious" and making "unilateral decisions" does not jibe with the experience of the professionals he empowered with extensive authority and opportunity during the rebuilding of the museum.

Muchmore and the California Museum Foundation deserve gratitude, rather than antagonism, from the state for the renaissance of the museum. The efforts of the bureaucrats to destroy the foundation are likely to return the museum to the dreary embarrassment it used to be.


South Pasadena

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