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Smithsonian Regents to Discuss “Hide/Seek”-Related Report of Ad Hoc Policy Panel

Smithsonian Regent John McCarter Jr.

Next week we’re likely to discover more about what the Smithsonian has learned from the “Hide/Seek” contretemps and whether this painful experience will have any lasting impact on institutional policy and practice.

A brief report by a three-person panel, which met only once (earlier this month) to review Smithsonian policies in the wake of the “Hide/Seek” controversy, will be discussed at this Monday’s day-long public meeting of the Smithsonian Institution’s Board of Regents (its governing body). A press conference (which I will not be likely to attend) will immediately follow that meeting.

Chairing the ad hoc panel is Smithsonian Regent John McCarter Jr. He also chairs the Regents’ Audit and Review Committee, and is president and CEO of Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History. McCarter was formerly senior vice president of Booz Allen & Hamilton, the strategy and management consulting firm.

The other two members of the volunteer (unpaid) panel, according to Linda St. Thomas, the Smithsonian’s chief spokesperson, are “a non-Smithsonian museum director” (whom she would not identify) and David Gergen, senior political analyst for CNN, who served as advisor to four U.S. Presidents. (Gergen’s new Smithsonian role was noted but not defined in previous reports.)

St. Thomas told me that the panel’s “review of policies” was “not solely about ‘Hide/Seek.'”

I wonder who that mystery museum director might be. They clearly needed someone with deep experience in the artworld—not science, not engineering, not natural history. Contemporary art specialists preferred.

Where’s Michael Govan when we really need him?

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