National Museum of the American Indian Wants Bigger Budget

The National Museum of the American Indian complained about its small staff and budget.

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he Smithsonian Institution’s newest facility, the six-year-old National Museum of the American Indian, is learning what it feels like to be, well, an American Indian circa 1875. At a conference this month in Canada to discuss compensating Native American children ripped from their families and thrust into traditional schools, the museum’s head archivist, Jennifer O’Neal, complained that her staff of three is far outnumbered by archive staffs at the institution’s  more prominent museums. “It’s not the norm,” she says, adding that the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum has “40 or 50” archivists and a vast budget. “I’m just barely surviving,” she says, adding that the funding and staff shortages severely limit projects she can do.


 

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