tv Smithsonian Secretary David Skorton Testimony on Fiscal Year 2017 Budget CSPAN April 10, 2016 1:05pm-2:01pm EDT
they've created this museum to in fact save these things. and share these things. >> interested in american history tv? visit our website, c-span.org/history. you can see our upcoming schedule or watch a recent program. "american artifacts," "lectures of history," and more at c-span.org/history. >> the smithsonian secretary, thed skorton, testified on smithsonian institution's budget request for 2017. he told committee members that the national air and phase -- air and space museum needs a facelift and that $50 million in the budget would be for these renovations. the other witnesses showed historical items from various
smithsonian museums, including the inkwell used by president lincoln to sign the emancipation proclamation. this is just under one hour. >> the committee will come to order. david skorton, i would like to welcome you to today's hearing. i appreciate you joining us this morning to share your vision for the future of the smithsonian and to discuss your budget priorities for the fiscal year 2017. the members and staff are also grateful you brought some interesting historical items for show and tell. it is going to one of the highlights of our hearing season. you clearly have one of the most interesting jobs in town. i think most of us around this table would love to trade places
with you, but something tells me it would not be in the best interests of the smithsonian. so we will all keep our jobs. the smithsonian's mission is to increase the diffusion of knowledge. as the 13th secretary of the smithsonian, you are interested with the challenging sponsored abilities of operating and managing one of our countries most revered institutions. the smithsonian is often referred to as america's attic. no wonder you are the steward of more than 38 million objects in the national collection that reflects america's cultural and scientific heritage. the smithsonian provides education, outreach programs in art, culture, history, and science for visitors. the vice president, nine private citizens, and six members of congress, including our good friend tom, who serves on the subcommittee.
overall, the proposed funding level of the fiscal year 2017 request, is $922.2 million, which is about 10% above the fiscal year 2016. compared with other major accounts under the subcommittee's jurisdiction, your request is one of the most ambitious, as measured on a percentage basis. like most big organizations, the smithsonian faces enormous challenges which we will discuss at length today. we recently learned of the need for enormously costly repairs to the national air museum. if approved, this effort will place extraordinarily dass extraordinary burdens on the budget for the foreseeable future. the subcommittee congratulates
the smithsonian on the news of the opening of the national museum of african american history and culture on september 24 of this year. the committee has met its funding commitment, one half the total cost for construction of the museum. we are pleased that this extraordinary public-private partnership, enabling the museum to be built has proved successful. the construction is now nearly complete. construction of the african american museum and the proposed repairs to the national air and space museum are illustrate -- illustrative of the very real challenges the subcommittee faces. both increasing demand for and thinking supply of federal dollars to address many legitimate priorities. for this reason, it is essential that the smithsonian outlined and clearly communicate its highest and greatest priorities.
every member of the subcommittee would like to support the 10% increase for funding for the smithsonian. but, given the incredible demands, it is probably not realistic. difficult funding decisions will have to be made. the subcommittee will do its very best to adjust the smithsonian's most urgent priorities. i look forward to your testimony and continuing to work together. in closing, i want to commend you for the smithsonian's efforts to improve the display and storage of your vast collections. based on the input this committee received from members on both sides of the aisle, it is very clear, that the preservation and care of these lifeless and irreplaceable collections remain a high priority of this committee and this congress. i am happy to yield my good friend, mrs. mccallum for any opening remarks you would like to make. >> i would also like to welcome you here. this will be your first budget hearing before the subcommittee. you were appointed the secretary of the smithsonian this october. i am pleased that an opportunity to learn more about this institution and how you plan on working through some of the challenges as the chairman
pointed out. the smithsonian was treated for an infusion of knowledge. it has the ability to capture the imagination, a both children and adults. it has something for everyone. in particular, the unique imagination. it is truly a delight for families, the interactive craft, exploratory learning that is there. i have to tell you, it is a destination for some children i know well whenever they come to town. i also want to applaud you for the triumphant opening, which is a -- providing joy for a record number of visitors. i got to be there for the opening exhibit, it was fabulous. the smithsonian institution, the budget request is $922 million, an increase of $82 million over the 2016 enacted level.
these increases will help support the smithsonian's research program, their diverse collections, and make essential investments for both the facility and the workforce. in regards to your collection, i would note that the administration has not proposed funding for the american treasures program. the park service began in 1999. it was instrumental in joining with others to preserve national historic collections. some of which are housed in your museum at the smithsonian. for example, the star-spangled banner flag. i hope it is given an opportunity, if smithsonian will support efforts to restore the program which has a direct connection between reserving
your collections. like other committees within the jurisdiction, smithsonian is facing challenges with the maintenance backlog. many are operating with equipment more than 50 years old. currently, the smithsonian's index rating is considered poor. in order to achieve acceptable facilities condition index score and ensure safe -- health and safety for guests and employees, the budget requests $163 million. this amount will continue major renovations at the national zoo and other priority areas, including the national museum of american history, and natural history. it also provides a 50 -- $50 million increase to the air museum. it is one of the most visited museums in the world.
unfortunately, it is facing significant challenges with a deteriorating facade which allows moisture into the building. this funding is the first of several significant increases the smithsonian will be requesting to address issues that the air and other museums. construction of off-site storage, also. while they are big investments, there in the long-term interests of the nations. it is also the federal government's responsibility to provide necessary funding to ensure the 28 million visitors to the smithsonian have a safe and enriching experience. i am pleased that the national american -- history of african-american history will be opening this fall great it is a chance to learn about the rich cultural achievements of americans of african descent. it will also be the first
digital museum. that means anyone can share the experience. people in minnesota are so excited that they will be able to be there as part of the opening. virtual collections provide amazing educational opportunities for millions of children. and, you are bringing the museum right into customs. dr., i appreciate the work that you and all your employees do at the smithsonian. you provide scientific and artistic light to this nation. i yield back to mr. chair and thank you for your time. mr. calvert: and with that i yield to you dr. sport in. dr. skorton: thank you for this opportunity to testify. on behalf of the entire smithsonian institution, we appreciate the continuous, generous support of congress. this support makes for a huge and very collections of national treasures accessible to the american public. from display of the star-spangled banner, to
research on the evolution of the tyrannosaurus rex, we take our obligation to the american public very seriously. this unique public-private partnership is working well. in july, i was privileged to be a part of this great institution. today, i would like to share a few of our recent achievements, and touch on the two major objectives. strengthening our intellectual foundation, and strengthening our physical infrastructure. your support advances the civic, educational, scientific, and artistic life of our nation. just a few recent highlights. our new museum of african american history opens on the mall this november. smithsonian scientists use our
collections to provide important and practical insights on a variety of topics during consider the zika virus. the department of defense is working with us to map the outbreak. there looking at how it might spread through non-human factors. the smithsonian institute in panama is studying the zika-carrying mosquitoes genetic makeup. the national museums offer insight into our nation's leaders. our diverse music collections would comprise the largest in the world if they were all in one place. now, they are, at a new website called "smithsonian music." a gallery reopened in november, following a two-year renovation. its debut division, wonder, has
attracted more than 368,000 visitors in just the first four months. and we welcomed a new panda to the zoo. bebe represents our extensive work in a species biodiversity. in addition to the nearly 30 million visits to our museums in washington and new york are the, we are extending access and education across the country. we now have 208 affiliate museums. our traveling exhibition service reaches millions annually. we offer online educational materials in the k-12 to students of all ages, and teachers with more than 2000
learning resources available online. all of them for free. our science education center has been helping to transform formal science education on the k-12 level for more than 30 years. this curriculum is used in every state in the country, and in 25 other countries around the world. we have more than one at a 38 million objects in our collection. to expand access, we have traded millions of electronic images and records, and become leaders in the field of three-dimensional scanning. i was recently at the national air and based museum as her experts carefully climbed into the apollo 11 command module to create a three-dimensional scan of its interior.
revealing for the first time, notes, and a calendar written inside by american astronauts. what a discovery. all of this information we will offer online this summer for everyone to explore for free. such treasures explain why the air and space museum is among the top three most visited museums in the world. and we're gearing up to transform it so it will be there for generations to come. this is a perfect example of one of our major objectives strengthening our physical infrastructure. our request also includes construction of the air and space needs the m's collections module at the center in virginia. funds for revitalization's projects, and for planning and design of future projects. these funds will enable the institution to continue major revitalization work at the national history museum, the zoo, and the national museum of american history.
our other priority is strengthening our intellectual programs. our rates of curators have shrunk substantially, especially in some of our museums. we need to reverse this long-term trend in the loss of territorial and research staff. we need new experts who can continue to acquire and exhibit our unique collections while also ensuring the availability of the collections for critical research. the smithsonian does face a future that holds exciting opportunities and imposing challenges. working with the congress and the administration, we will aggressively address these challenges and take full advantage of many new opportunities. again, i think for the opportunity of testifying. thank you mr. chairman. mr. calvert: as you mention in your opening statement, the national air and space museum which is the most visited museum in the united states, and the second most visited in the world, behind only the louvre in paris, is in need of major
repair work. the projection i have seen, projects the cost to be extraordinary, nearly $600 million. this exceeds the total cost of a new museum of african american history and culture. can you explain in some detail, the nature of the repairs needed, and why the estimated cost to address them is so high? dr. skorton: thank you, mr. chairman. the museum is 40 years old. we have projected for a long time the need to update mechanical systems in the building. that accounts for something on the order of magnitude of $200 million in projected costs. much of it is due to an unanticipated problem found in the clay of the exterior of the building. it will require replacement by new materials for the safety of the public going into the building and for the building's own integrity. it will also be necessary, from my perspective, to keep as much of the museum open during the revitalization as possible, given the in norm the american public has to visit the museums
and gain from the collections. some of the funding will go to the necessity to move items to off-site storage, while a particular part of the museum is being moved -- worked on, and then moved back. when you add all these things up, it does come to an extraordinary number. our plan is to continue funding for this project for another year. and to directly do the construction over a five-year. , until fiscal year 2022. mr. calvert: what were the replacement costs to just tear the existing museum down and rebuild it? dr. skorton: this was the very first question i asked when i was wrought on board. they told me about the very challenging price tag on
repairing this building. although it is counterintuitive, but first you would think it would be much more parsimonious to replace the building, but it turned out to be much more expensive, on the magnitude of $2 billion. please bear with me why i explain why that would be. we would have to have a place to move the entire collection. since it is such an enormous building, with such an enormous collection, all the objects in there, including very large projects, we have to rent or build a massive storage facility. we would have to shut the missed --useum down for years. in addition to the generous, steadfast support congress has given us, we have been able to raise some funds through retail operations, imax theater, shops, and so on. of course, we would lose that revenue. when you add it all up, although
i say it is counterintuitive, given the very expensive project to replace it while keeping say, have to museum open throughout the project, is actually much less expensive than it would be to replace the entire building. but i thank you for the question. mr. calvert: and of the $600 million, how much do you anticipate would be funded through appropriations, and how would it be a just through non-federally funded sources? dr. skorton: i would have to ask that the entire amount is funded through federal means, and may i please expand on that? i had a great opportunity in my career to participate in fundraising for a variety of distinguished, nonprofit institutions. the smithsonian uses the leverage that you supply, by providing steadfast support. in my experience, it is difficult to build philanthropic
funds for repair, as opposed to something new. i must hasten to add that in planning for the future of the national air and space museum, we have plans for approximately two and $250 million of changes to the way we show exhibits to the public. increased use of interactive and electronic technology, a whole different approach. in addition to raise those funds, we already on our way to do that. but the actual reconstruction of the building itself, i am asking be completely done through federal funds. mr. calvert: before i asked betty to take over and ask questions, what are you explain some of the items you have brought here to show us, and to show everyone. dr. skorton: thank you, mr. chairman. although i gave you an amateur's
rundown before, i will give you some professionals to give you a better, more spacing -- succinct discussion. i want to thank you for letting us share the collection today. from the national history museum, this was used by abraham lincoln to sign the emancipation proclamation. also, the cracked plate portrait of abraham lincoln taken by the president's favorite photographer. dr. kelly from the astrological observatory has brought prototypes from a protected heatshield, part of nasa's solar probe spacecraft. dr. eleanor harvey from the art museum has brought thomas moran's beautiful watercolor of the excelsior geiser at yellowstone national park. i have been warned to stay out of this. [laughter] >> it is above my pay grade. >> whatever you say, i agree with completely. >> my name is harry rubenstein,
i am the chair of political history at the museum of national history. this is a inkstand that sat on the desk of major thomas accor at the telegraph office. as you know, abraham lincoln would go to the telegraph office to keep tabs on what was happening during the civil war. in the summer of 1862, rather than swapping stories and jokes, he sat quietly at major eckhert's desk, at what became the emancipation proclamation. he cap this and eventually saved it and presented it to the government. it will be in the opening of the african american museum, and will then move back to american
history for our exhibition on american democracy. ink you. -- thank you. >> you can see that these are part of the stand, but these are little ink wells, with little gryphons. >> hello, i am the senior curator of photographs of the national portrait gallery. this is one of our genuine treasures. it is a portrait of abraham lincoln taken by gardner at his studio here in washington, d.c., which was located at the corners
of seventh and d streets. it was taken at 5, 1865. at the time that picture was taken, there was the expectation there would be many opportunities to photograph the president during his upcoming second term. the large glass plate negatives that was used to produce this print cracked, probably when a varnish was applied to it after developed. just one print was made from this large glass negative before the negative was discarded. it was irreparably damaged. what makes this image so evocative, is the expression we have on lincoln . -- lincoln's face. he hasn't seen it so much trial and tragedy, but you can see hope in his faint smile. a nation torn asunder is a drawing to a close.
and there is hope for the future. the portrait came into our collection in 1981. it is one of the true treasures of our holding. >> high, i am dr. kelly clark and i have brought with me a prototype. this will fly in 2018 on nasa's probe mission to actually touch the sun. it is not just a scientific enterprise, it is also somewhat practical. understanding the sun will help us save -- understand space and whether -- weather better. these instruments will all fly in 2018. >> good morning. my name is eleanor harbin, i am the curator at the american art
museum. as a former geologist and art historian, i bring to you thomas moran's painting of an excelsior geiser, painted in 1873 after congress set aside yellowstone is the first national park area the park behind you, yosemite, was set aside by abraham lincoln as a protected preserve in the middle of the civil war. it was a sanctuary recognizing the power of nature as something we hold dear, as part of america's cultural infrastructure. this watercolor was reproduced along with a fleet of others to help promote visitor ship to yellowstone.
full display. it was a patriotic moment in america when we recognize we have such unique features in this country that instill a kind of civic pride and make people want to explore the vastness of the country that we have here. >> i want to be quick to indicate that the coverage on that, the first one was a historical, not a political -- [laughter] >> since we have the portrait of abraham lincoln here, who wisely designated yosemite to be the first designated -- acquired national park, that was very wise of him. >> yes, it was. >> mr. chairman, i must say, the smithsonian family values every single part of the park services. the park services themselves are celebrating their anniversary. ms. mccollum: we have some great ones in minnesota. i wanted to take an opportunity. we met in the office and i have been doing more and more homework. i want to understand how to better -- where you see yourself going in the future, because now that we have all these surprises for the air science museum renovation. last january, they gave us permission to explore creating exhibit space in london. it is my understanding that such a venture would be done completely using private funds. but you have been talking about leveraging a lot of private
funds here today for current collections and current buildings. i am concerned that congress has not been a full part of the discussion. i bring this up because at a minimum, the smithsonian is an establishment of the united states and their funds are held in the united states treasury. if there is a lawsuit, they are represented by the department of justice. so we are intertwined here. in 2006, the smithsonian entered into a business venture with showtime network, to the eye or of congress because there was no consultation. the former secretary revealed that in hindsight, the smithsonian should have consulted with the congress. can you tell us when we will know more about smithsonian's finance regarding london? when you plan on consulting with congress. as you address the problems as i
said earlier, to domestic facilities like the national zoo, can you really rely on having enough private contributions to assist you with the deferred maintenance operations? if not, we have to come back and asked the federal government to address some of these problems. can you give us an update on where you are in london and elsewhere, and if time permits, i have a question about the industry building as well. thank you mr. chair. dr. skorton: i would like to try to answer what i heard were three questions. first of all, in the extremely important matter of consultation with congress, not only do we get two thirds of our funding because of your generosity and foresight, but we are an
organization in the public trust. i cannot agree with you more. it is hard for me to look backward on what might or might not have happened in earlier consultation, but i pledge to you and the entire subcommittee, that we'll make consultation and transparency a hallmark of our administration. it is very important for all the reasons that you stated, including, but not limited to issues you brought up. secondly, i heard you raise a very important issue of leveraging federal funds in other ways. i will be very quick about this. we do that in two ways. roughly business or retail operations, like the shops in the museums, the imax theaters, the magazine, other things you can purchase or derive a benefit. secondly, philanthropy, outright gifts. the smithsonian has been very effective in both retail and philanthropic sides. but as you mentioned and as the chairman mentioned, the needs are very challenging.
it is going to take everything we do to keep pace with the very strong support you have given us, and with those who purchase things from us, and those who give philanthropic donations. i take it very seriously. i believe as a personal observation, i am still new at the smithsonian and washington, i believe part of the reason my predecessors, were so successful in raising philanthropic funds, is because of these -- the congressional support. it is my experience, that when there is solid public funding, other people will also join in. so i thank you very much for
that because you made philanthropy possible. now to the main cus of your question about london, it ties together a lot of these issues you raise. i think the opportunity for the united states to tell a story overseas in a time of, today is one of those terrible days where we are thinking so much about the international situation, to be able to tell the story of america overseas would be a good thing for the smithsonian and a good thing for the country. however, given the pressure on federal funds, and the pressure on us, that you have indicated, we have to make sure, and iparty pledged earlier and will pledge
again today, we will not use the federal funds for this and not do the project unless the finances can stand completely on their own. including not interrupting other flows of funds that we have to do. i can't tell you today whether the project will come to fruition. i hope to have an answer for you and/or board of regents on the second week in april at our next meeting. but i think it is an exciting prospect. we have to have it stand completely on its own bottom. ms. mccollum: real quick, the smithsonian art and industry building is an icon. it is right next to the castle, an important role in the history of the smithsonian. at one time it was included by the national trust, one of the most endangered historic sites me united states. it was closed in 2004 for renovation, and it was spring, almost 10 years later that they mentioned they would use it for short-term exhibits. could you update the committee on how you see the arts and industry buildings on your campus. the current condition of the building, and when will you finally be able to host events? is the challenge still adequate plumbing and hvac systems there?
and i hope you also talk to congress about renovating the gardens there, too. they are adjacent to the building. dr. skorton: i will talk specifically about the arts industries building, and if you have more specific questions about the gardens are the areas surrounding i will answer those as well. i have one of these dream jobs. i have a tree office that looks right at the capital. in my line of sat -- site, the carousel room, watching a lot of young people enjoy, i often focus on the art industries building and asked myself the first time i came for interviews nearly two years ago, what are
we going to do with this beautiful victorian building? the second oldest in the smithsonian universe. only recently has the building been reopened. the systems you mentioned are up and running now. i asked for it to be their last october. think you for recognizing that. it was a beautiful chance to use the building. and so it is ready for those occasional uses right now. we are opening it for those kinds of uses this year. we are beginning to plan and are now at the point where i have something concrete and intelligent to share with you about more strategic uses of the building going forward. it is another one of those areas where we need to stay in touch with this and the other subcommittees to oversee the funds for the smithsonian.
but this will be the year where you will see more use made of that building. ms. mccollum: thank you, i will follow-up with your staff on other questions. >> wonderful exhibits. >> thank you for all you do for us. >> thank you, mr. chair. thank you to everybody who brought such interesting exhibits for us to see. that was really a pleasure. we are very appreciative of the work that you do. i echo all the things that they said earlier. i want to talk a little about the things you say you do to the smithsonian, outside of d.c.. we have been fortunate to work with you on a variety of things. recently, the portland museum of art had a retrospective on realism, which we were able to do with the cooperation of the smithsonian. that is really important for small states like maine, that do not have the resources, and can
access your resources. i wanted to talk to you about the program that is growing within the smithsonian. it is an important part of what you do in research. a lot of coastal communities interested in things like climate change, but we do not have a marine geode site in maine. we'll be able to expand the number of partner sites? have you thought about how you could work with more narrowly focused organizations interested in becoming research sites, either by allowing additional resources to expand research, or allow them to contribute? dr. skorton: thank you very much. i hear two important questions embedded in what you asked me. let me take a moment to talk about our activities outside of d.c.. it is really important. it is a lucky subset of the
united states that can get to them all. it is expensive to get here. one of my predecessors began a vigorous thrust on digitization. those who have access to the internet, most but not all, can review major parts of the collection. and also cap, -- also, being in the public sector, where the taxpayers are paying for it in every corner of the country, it is extremely important that we are responsive to their appetite to taste the smithsonian. the traveling exhibition service, embedded in your comments about the portland museum, we have other projects on the research and, that touch the nation and the world. our mission, which was part of the letter to establish the endowment, 107 years ago, our mission is to increase and
diffusion of knowledge. we talk a lot about the diffusion of knowledge, the interface between the public in these unbelievable collections. but the research part is unbelievably important, whether we are talking about zika, climate change, you name it. in that geode consortio were set up for the research thinking of the smithsonian touching communities everywhere and help improve knowledge. and so, for those who are not familiar with it, the marine geode examines coastal waterways. coastal waterways are very important because that is where there is a tremendous concentration of life forms. in our country, a tremendous population. the interaction between the human population in the wildlife that lives at the edge of the
coastal areas is very important to study. we do not have enough funding so far to expand to the extent that i would like to expand. we do have a request as part of this to continue staffing and planning for marine geode. it was made possible for a combination of your support and generous contributions of individuals from the national board. it is my hope to leverage the funds through true philanthropy so we can begin to think more broadly about bringing more partners on. we have very good intentions in that regard. and i need to because us and what i promised because we do need to raise more funds. but i think, spending my whole life and science, but it is very important that that scientific research touches parts of the country, but scientists and
people who want to participate, be able to access areas far spread. i am with you in intention, and will work my best to make it a reality. >> thank you very much. >> thank you mr. chairman, and thank you for being here today. come by my office and talk to me. i would like to talk to you about some of the things -- panama, what is going on in panama, and what the smithsonian does there is very important. the same thing that happened with the national art gallery, it needs to be replaced, the exterior of it. dr. skorton: in a sense yes, and a sense know. isn't that a hopeful answer? >> i get that answer all the time. dr. skorton: it turns out, that when the exterior was cut, it was cut to a thickness about
twice as thick as the thickness of the clatting of the air and space museum. it was to speed along construction at a time when we were trying to get the building done for the bicentennial. in the case of the gallery of art, it was possible to reuse that figure -- thicker clatting. in my response, that is why it is such an expensive project. >> at the same issue, relative to what caused the necessity for replacing it? dr. skorton: in part, it is. >> the other thing i would like to talk you about is, are you getting pressure on the arts and industries building down there to use it as the hispanic museum?
or is that a question you don't want to answer? dr. skorton: i want to answer any question you have, i want to give you the right answer. first of all, part of our charge, part of what you expect us to do, is tell the story of america in all its completeness and beauty. the story of the american latino is a very important part of telling the story. as you know, a new museum for the smithsonian is always established by an act of congress. that act has not occurred. however, my predecessors have already begun some years ago, to begin to gear up our efforts to tell the story of latinos in america. the two secretaries that
preceded me, we have a project that you have been very generous in funding for a latino fund that allows us to fund some projects that have been very effective. we also have been hiring coming even though we don't have a specific museum, we have been hiring curators with expertise in telling the story of latinos in america. they are working in various places throughout the smithsonian. we have multiple exhibits, five or six in the last year, touching on some of those areas. so, it will be in your hands to decide, should we have a national museum of the american latino esther mark in the meantime, we're -- continuing to tell the story of the american latino. >> i got a tell you, it is not fair that you bring in all this neat stuff that distracts us so we can even your testimony. you have an advantage that others don't. dr. skorton: it is true, the world is not fair. but i am so glad to be on my side of it. >> thank you for your work in bringing these treasures.
i want to talk about your comments on the value of that region education. i think we are in environment in this country where we are witnessing -- institutions across our social spectrum. part of that i believe, is a lack of civic engagement. part of that, is because we just don't teach civics anymore in our classrooms and in our schools. there is this a missed quiz circulating that when you ask a certain age cohort who won the civil war, the majority will say the british. that is a function of just not having access to history or the traditional civics lessons that we all were taught when we were growing up. so i would like you to amplify in your comments the importance of education, not just in washington. and whether the smithsonian has a mission, or would consider having a mission, with respect to greater civic engagement and civic education across the
country. dr. skorton: thank you very much. first of all, before when i quoted the mission statement of the increase and diffusion of knowledge, it is incredibly important that it involves not just people crossing thresholds of our beautiful museums here in new york city and elsewhere, we need to go out and help people where they live. as i mentioned very briefly in the opening remarks, the education work of the
smithsonian, for example, in stem disciplines, is very well established throughout the country. as people wish to use it. as you know, our k-12 system is a local phenomenon, largely. we are therefore for people who want to use it. that use occurs in every state of the united states. however, i think we could be doing even more in terms of outreach. i think that outreach could and should have occurred in two directions. it is one thing for us to offer educational services and arts and culture and history and science, or to partner with people who want to do scientific research as the congressman burr -- brought up. it is another to get their input. one of the hallmarks i hope to bring to the smithsonian, which is already been a part, but i hope to strengthen it, is to listen more to the public about what they want. the first thing i will do is start small and close to home. i think we also focus on the
city of washington, the city of washington is where our home base is. with the help of mayor bowser, i am establishing a youth advisory council to meet from high school students in washington, d.c. i am hoping those high school students will be able to tell me what they're interested in, what they believe they need. and i want to go directly to the place where we would like to education to occur. the first meeting of this group i hope will be the very next month. and i hope to ask them the very question you're asking me indirectly, and that is, what you think we need that we could do for you? in terms of a direct answer to your question about the lack of focus on civics, i am sure you know because it is an area of interest of yours, and everyone on the subcommittee, there is a lot of consternation about where american youth are in terms of their knowledge of american history and civics. there are other organizations, nonprofit, that have been
brought up to deal specifically with the citrix problem. what we can do is treat things that the smithsonian. we can offer exposure to the history of the united states and its culture through the collections themselves. secondly, these museums already offer enormous numbers and are very effective types of public programs, public outreach programs. some are doing through smithsonian associates, some are done individually in different ways. again, all the can do is offer and hope they will come. additionally, i want to find out what the public would like from us. in asking us questions, asked what we can do to be helpful in broadening your perspectives. and one last thing, when i have a few minutes and my daily schedule, i walked from my office and go to the museums and talk to the visitors. i talked to the families and
tourists who come in. one of the things they ask most consistently, not a scientific sample, but just in my nine months of asking them, parents will ask, what can you do to help my parents understand a fast-moving world? if they don't specifically ask about civics, they want to bring our kids along. so i appreciate your question. >> if you would find some time to visit with me in my office, i would love to follow up and discuss valerie's you have for teachers across america and how it can be helpful. >> thank you, and we would love to spend the day with you doctor, but unfortunately we have to go vote. i would like to get into more depth somewhere down the road. i will visit the air and space museum with you, that is a huge number, as you know. mr. calvert: we can find out how
>> you are watching american history tv -- all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook at c-span history. >> this year marks the 60th anniversary of john f. kennedy's book "profiles in courage" -- the book told the stories of eight u.s. senators who demonstrated great clinical courage. the book on the 1957 pulitzer prize for biography. kennedypanel of former administration