The Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History safeguards the treasures of the past, but now one group is raising questions about how current management is handling the museum’s future interests.
Hurricane Harvey repairs are just about done at the museum and there is also a search for a new director.
One group hoping to take over management of the museum has told the City Council they have some concerns about the museum’s current management.
The city owns the Museum of Science and History, but since 2012 it has been managed by a company called Corpus Christi Management Joint Venture (CCMJV). It is owned by local business owner Bill Durrill.
Now the museum’s former executive director wants to change that. Carol Rehtmeyer also became the museum director in 2012, but was let go by CCMJV in 2016.
Since then she has formed a museum advisory board of eight, which now wants to take over management duties.
"It’s really important that the entity that runs it is a not-for-profit, with a truly philanthropic mindset, that wants the funds to go completely back to the museum," Rehtmeyer said.
Rehtmeyer and her supporters told the City Council last week they are worried about the way CCMJV is handling funds.
"How the funds are allocated will not allow the museum under it’s current operating procedure to thrive. All of the money is taken out of the museum to pay as management fees," Rehtmeyer said.
However Durrill says every year a third party reviews the company’s cash flow.
"Every year it’s come out clean," he said.
He says the company has streamlined expenses, and it it is drawing more visitors.
"We have increased gross revenues by almost two and half times since we’ve been there, and we have had improvements done to the property," Durrill said.
Today the City Council discussed a contract to let CCMJV manage the museum for another five months. Durrill says it would have been a year-and-a-half long contract, but the city shortened the term after the advisory board spoke out at council.
"It’s a good group of people that showed up last week, and I hope that they would take that same passion and work with us on everything that we’re doing with the museum," Durrill said.
The advisory board is also concerned that the museum has been closed since October due to Hurricane Harvey damage.
Durrill says Harvey exposed several other problems that needed to be fixed. He says city bond dollars were supposed to fund those repairs a decade ago, but the museum never saw those funds, so they are dealing with all the problems now.
Those Hurricane Harvey repairs at the museum are almost complete. The museum plans to open to school groups as early as next week.
It has gone through mold remediation since it has been closed. The flooring at the front entrance also got some water damage from Harvey.. The museum is expected to open up to the public once the new flooring is in, in about two weeks.