* Staff memo from Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Chief of Staff Melissa Coultas…
Please be aware that Alan Lowe is no longer in the service of the State of Illinois. I will remain in close contact with the Governor’s Office until a new Executive Director is identified. In the interim, all issues that would normally go to Alan will be handled by Toby Trimmer, Dave Kelm and me.
I’m told he was walked out of the building by a deputy governor.
Lowe came to Illinois from the George W. Bush Presidential Library Museum a few years ago.
Trimmer and Coultas were both hired just last month, so there’s not much institutional knowledge at the top. Kelm, the general counsel, was hired last year during the Rauner administration. He’s worked for Jim Edgar and House GOP Leader Jim Durkin.
I’ve been promised a response from the governor’s office.
…Adding… After checking around, the highlighted text below from this August Bruce Rushton story appears to be at least some of what’s going on today…
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum again has gotten cozy with conservative talk show personality Glenn Beck.
Mercury One, a Texas nonprofit founded by Beck, boasts on its website that the ALPLM was a partner in a recent weeklong exhibit on slavery at the institution in Irving. Other partners included the African American Museum of Dallas, the Dallas Historical Society and Frontiers of Flight Museum.
It’s not clear what artifacts, if any, the ALPLM might have loaned. Last year, the museum sent the Gettysburg Address and other artifacts to Mercury One for display with less planning and fewer safeguards than had been employed in past instances when the copy of Lincoln’s famous speech, valued at $20 million, left the building.
*** UPDATE *** From the governor’s office…
The administration terminated Mr. Lowe’s employment today. We cannot comment further on personnel matters. We look forward to working with the team of museum professionals, historians and librarians at the ALPLM to ensure that the institution is meeting its high standards.
…Adding… From WBEZ earlier today…
A possible auction of Abraham Lincoln memorabilia displayed at Illinois’ presidential museum in Springfield is being put off due to an apparent uptick in fundraising, according to the private foundation that owns the artifacts.
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Last year’s threatened fire sale by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation shocked the history world. Facing an October deadline, the group was about to sell off some coveted historical artifacts because it was having trouble paying off a $9.7 million loan balance left from the original purchase of the items.
A spokesman for the foundation, which purchases Lincoln artifacts for the presidential museum, attributed the change of heart to a less dour financial picture than what the group foresaw last year.
“I am pleased that our fundraising is going very well,” Nick Kalm, a vice chairman of the foundation’s board, told WBEZ in a statement.