For the past five years I have been a volunteer and a supporter of the Galveston County Museum with many donations of artifacts and other items to them. It had been my hope to see the museum reopen this fall for the first time since being flooded by Hurricane Ike.
Now it appears that this will not happen (“County museum’s future murky after director’s firing,” The Daily News, July 7, 2019), and the residents and visitors in the county will continue to be denied access to the thousands of items in the museum’s inventory.
The museum had been limping toward reopening with minimal support from the county, and what I would call active hindrance from the department heads under whom the museum operated. Consider the following:
During the past four years, the staff of the museum has been operating with one full-time employee and two part-time.
This is ridiculous staffing, considering the thousands of details to handle in the reopening of the museum in new quarters.
Requests by the director for added personnel were denied. Requests to add five hours per week to one part-timer were denied.
The only full-time employee (director/curator) was recently fired without cause — and in a very unprofessional and demeaning manner.
Since that termination, the few security cameras in the museum and in the archives have been removed leaving no security at all for possibly millions of dollars of artifacts.
This lack of security is compounded by the fact that department heads repeatedly denied the director’s request for door locks allowing limited access to the collections.
Dozens of county employees have keys that open all of the museum doors, and there have been several instances of overnight pilferage and damage.
In summary: There’s now no trained curator employed by the museum. There’s no director. There’s no full-time employee. There’s no security. And they have millions of dollars in citizens’ donations subject to damage and theft.
Time for the commissioners to get fully involved.