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Smithsonian Musical Chairs, Continued

It’s not just Smithsonian Institution’s secretary, Lawrence Small, and under secretary for science, David Evans, who have flown the coop.
There are two other high-level disturbances, announced before the Small Squall, that will occasion more headhunting: Marc Pachter is retiring in October from the directorship of the National Portrait Gallery; Richard West will be leaving his longtime post as director of the National Museum of the American Indian this fall. Also up for grabs: the acting directorship of the National Museum of Natural History, now that Cristián Samper has been named as Small’s acting replacement.
It now appears that Evans might have stayed on at the Smithsonian, had he not been passed over for the acting secretary’s spot. The Washington Post reports:
Evans said Small’s resignation after revelations of large housing and travel expenditures didn’t trigger his own decision to leave, but he said he was surprised that the Smithsonian had “hopped over” him to choose Samper as acting secretary. “Frankly, that was a little disappointing,” Evans said. “I thought one of my proudest accomplishments was bringing him aboard. . . . But I have the greatest respect for Cristián.”
Sounds like he was more than a little miffed.
Meanwhile, I just noticed the mysterious Panama Connection: Samper arrived at the Smithsonian in 2001 as deputy and then acting director of its Tropical Research Institute in Panama. Ira Rubinoff, named as Evans’ acting replacement as undersecretary, was director of that same Panama enclave since 1974.
Maybe spending time at a far remove from Washington Mall politics is a wise Smithsonian career move.

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