tv Smithsonian Institution Secretary Testifies on Museums CSPAN November 15, 2019 4:13pm-5:04pm EST
kurt volker, the former u.s. special envoy to ukraine, and tim morrison, a national security council aide. watch live coverage beginning at 9:00 a.m. eastern on c-span3. you can also watch online at c-span.org, or listen on the free c-span radio app. the house will be in order. >> for 40 years c-span has been providing america unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events from washington d.c. and around the country. so you can make up your own mind. created by cable in 1979. c-span is brought to you by your local cable or satellite provider. c-span, your unfilters view of government. >> next, lawny bunch, the new
secretary of the smithsonian
institution testified on museum programs and operations. before the senate rules and administration committee. secretary bunch outlined his priorities for the institution and efforts to reduce the maintenance backlog. committee on rules and administration will be called to order. good morning. i want to thank my colleagues for attending, and before i get any further, thank secretary bunch for bringing some of their great collection for us to look at. but mr. secretary, we're glad to have you, and several people from your team here to back you up if you need it. but i'm confident you'll be able to be the man at the microphone there. this is your first official appearance before the senate rules committee. we're grateful to have you with us. secretary bunch's appointment is historic in a number of ways.
he's the first african american
secretary to lead the smithsonian institution as well as the first museum director who was then later appointed secretary in at least in around 75 years. he's a historian, something that i really enjoy, and he really understands. it's a great combination of things. this is the fourth position, the secretary bunch has had at the smithsonian. something i don't believe any of your predecessors could claim. in 1978 secretary bunch began his smithsonian career at the national air and space museum as an education specialist. 11 years later he joined the national museum of american history. and he most recently served as the founding director of the national museum of african american history and culture. and as the founding director, he led an 11-year effort in constructing that 400,000 square foot museum, and helping raise the matching public private --
the private funds that matched public funds and came up with the museum to tells an incredibly powerful story of that part of our history, and, in fact, of a lot of our history. congress established the smithsonian in 1846 through a becrest by a british scientist, james smithson who never visited the united states, but he generously left his estate to the united states government to found, quote, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge. that ends the quote from mr. smithson's will. and now we are almost 175 years later, the smithsonian encompasses 19 museums and galleries. numerous research and educational facilities. the national zoo. a growing collection of 15 5 million objects and specimens. secretary bunch's years of experience provide a unique
perspective to look at the future of the smithsonian, and as the newly invested secretary who has inherited the responsibility for this vast, unique, unmatched collection, of course, the secretary also inherited the institution's challenges. the aging facilities, a deferred maintenance backlog totaling a billion dollars. and i'm sure that's going to be one of the topics we talk about today. in the last two decades, the smithsonian doubled the square footage while funding remained essentially flat. now, under any circumstance that's not going to produce a very good result, and while doubling the institution added incredible spcapacity to see wh americans count on the smithsonians for, it added a
burden we haven't been willing to meet of maintenance. that's one of the things we want to talk to the secretary about today, and one of the things he sees as one of his great responsibilities. when the secretary started his job, we were in the middle of a five-year strategic plan or at least implementing a five-year strategic plan created by his predecess predecessor. i want to does with the secretary of his thoughts on that plan, his vision on how it needs to change as we look now at the reality of many of the obligations and opportunities that are out there before us. and so mr. secretary, we're glad you're here. i want to call on today's ranking member, my good friend, senator udall for any comments he'd like to make. >> thank you very much, chairman blunt, and thank you for those nice words and introduction there. great to be with you.
you're a good friend, and we've enjoyed looking at the display. i'm very pleased to be here this morning to discuss the museum and the programs and to welcome the new secretary, lonnie bunch, before the committee for the first time since his appointment. i'm also proud to have the chance to oversee the institution as both a member of the rules committee here, and as the ranking member of the senate interior appropriations sub committee. in both roles i've worked to make sure congress is an active partner with the smithsonian institution and provides the resources it needs to meet its obligations to advance the civic educational and artistic live of this nation. i can say i'm here sometimes on weekends, and my wife and i go to many of your museums, and it's a marvelous display for americans about so many important issues in american life, and issues around the world. and i'm proud that the senate
interior sub committee has worked to advance an appropriations bill that provides more than one billion dollars. this also includes new funding increases for security, facilities maintenance, and 1.7 million in new funding for the latino center. i look forward to producing a final bill that will give the institution a strong budget for fiscal year 2020. i welcome the chance to talk about the opportunities and the challenges of the -- and supporting the great work the smithsonian is doing here this morning. and having a discussion about that. we all know that the smithsonian requireses real investments to keep the existing museums operating, to expand the collections to tell the story of all americans and to support the reach of its research and educational programs across the country. in particular, i expect we will hear this morning about the importance of congress committing the resources needed
to meet the institution's maintenance and capital needs. the capital requirements clearly need to be a priority, but we will have the opportunity to talk about the importance of congress authorizing new museums that celebrate the history and latino community museums that would recognize and celebrate our nation's diverse heritage and whose authorization, legislation enjoys broad bipartisan support. in my view, congress should be able to do both things, support existing infrastructure, and provide an exciting opportunity for the smithsonian to expand the footprint to include these new museums. and i look forward to hearing from the secretary this morning as we talk about each of these priorities. thank you for being here, and i would yield back to the chairman. >> thank you, senator. secretary bunch, your written statement will be made part of the records, but i'd like for you to have a few minutes to talk about as much of that or
all of you as you want. >> thank you very much. chairman, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today. as you've mentioned, my tenure as the 14th secretary of the smithsonian began this summer, however my relationship with it spans many generations it seems to me. i'm pleased and humbled to the secretary of this institution that i love so much. the smithsonian appreciates the ongoing support of congress, administration, and the american people. and we take seriously the role we play in advancing the civic, educational, scientific, and artistic life of this nation. our collections are vast. represent an incredible scope and depth of historical, cultural and scientific achievement. we are an internationally respected scientific and cultural institution that does cutting edge research in many disciplines. our 21 libraries collectively form one of the world's greatest
repositories of knowledge. we have extensive array of educational material that learners of all ages can access online or in classrooms or in our museums. the smithsonian buildings host millions of visitors every year. our facilities provide the foundation upon which we build our programs. our exhibitions, our research, our scholarship. we have been successful in maintaining building systems well beyond their intended life like we've done with the air and space museum. but the truth is, with the deferred maintenance backlog of nearly a billion dollars, there's much work to be done. all of our sites, the museums, the research galleries, the zoo, in addition to the spaces, we must care for over 13.9 million square feet of building. with a backlog of maintenance issues, we've been reacting to problems instead of maintaining as sets. since becoming secretary, i've
looked at the backlog with fresh eyes and in order to be more strategic, i've asked and directed the staff to begin analyzing projects in a new way. rather than simply seeing the totality of the backlog, i want to analyze our maintenance projects system by system. with this approach, we're better able to communicate our existing priorities, dwob a better sense of where our limited federal dollars are best spent and find opportunities to address maintenance needs as part of our capital revitalization projects. i believe addressing the backlog of is of pair mount importance. in their wisdom, congress and the administration have recognized the investment in long term care of our facilities and have supported steady increases in our maintenance budget. many of our museums were built in the 60s through 80s and need revietization. funding preventative care cause
fewer breakdowns, save energy and decrease unplanned closures. a series of capital projects required after decades of deferred maintenance. in addition our collections have grown as you said to over 155 million objects. these objects need to be stored, maintained, cared for, and prepared for research and exhibition. to most of our visitors, the collections we have largely define the institution. therefore, our collections are a vital national asset. and we are always striving to improve storage conditions, striking a balance between preserving the collections and providing access to them. the spaces that house our collections are not immune from deterioration. the maintenance of these areas
have been deferred to the point of requiring capital investment. our collection space framework plan outlines a strategy for improving all of our collections facilities. the smithsonian's pressing infrastructure needs need and demand our immediate attention. despite our best efforts, much of our aging infrastructure continues to be below acceptable standards. we appreciate the support of congress in addressing our most visible project, the renovation of the national air and space museum. but just as important, we are grateful for the ongoing support of the day today maintenance needs for this institution. finally, let me say a few words about my plans and what i envision to do as secretary of the smithsonian. under my leadership, our goal is to reach at least one billion people worldwide. i envision a virtual initiative leveraging state of the art resources and innovative partnerships allowing domestic and international audiences to
experience our scholarship, our research, our collections in new and exciting ways. if we are fully to serve 21st century audiences, we need to be more inclusive, more accessible and more diverse. a critical part of making the museum more diverse is including traditionally underrepresented stories, specifically highlighting the stories of asian american, american women, latina and asian pacific americans are vital to fulfilling our goal. under my leadership, we'll make diversity and our collections in our aver kooifs and work force a higher priority. as you know, there are bills to establish a latino american and american women's history museums pending before congress. if deemed in the public interest to move forward with these proposals, it is important that any additions to the smithsonian are considered in light of our existing priorities. a new museum will need funds for both the creation and long-term operation of the facilities, the
care and preservation of our collections and of course, the ongoing success of the museum. our work is also to increase knowledge is never ending. as we continue to make new discoveries, we plan to share them with future generations. therefore, i plan to reimagine the smithsonian's role in life-long learning by making the institution a leader in k through 12 education. finally, what i want is i want people to see the smithsonian as a resource. to help them better understand their lives, their universe, their history, and our shared future. it is incumbent upon us to be a more universal voice, one that earns the american people's trust in us and leverages the great convening power to increase our relevance and research. we want to be the place that matters for all americans. thank you for giving me the opportunity to testify before you today. and i'm happy to answer any questions you may have.
>> thank you. we're delighted you're here and look forward to the understanding you bring to the smithsonian. you mentioned that congress had provided money for maintenance, i think you're maybe generous in how you describe that, but looking at the maintenance numbers in front of me, we don't seem to increase that very much. we're sort of about the -- went from 75.5 million to 76 million the next year, and then a pretty good increase of -- to 79 million in the year we just completed. we're hoping to get to 85.5 million in this budget. that's your request for this budget. we're not where we ought to be with getting that appropriations finished. but clearly that's not doing the job. why don't you talk a little bit about your sense that going through every building, looking
at the building systems, looking at building by building requirements, how you think that will help you prioritize and am i right in believing that the number you're working with in deferred maintenance is right at a billion dollars now? >> yes. our deferred maintenance is at a billion dollars, and i think that we've got really several important ways to address this. one is there's always a need to increase the amount of money we have for maintenance. we do right now about 1% of what we -- that's what we spend, and we really need to spend at least 2 % to 3% to be able to not only stop the backlog but to reduce it. but in the meantime, what i realize is that by being more systemic, we cannot only understand where the needs are. we can anticipate future needs. because our goal is to have the knowledge, and then to do several things. the first of all, really utilize
the fact that the key to our success is to use both the maintenance budget and the capital budgets. to be able to do things like we've done with the air and space museum. by doing the renovation of the air and space museum, we were able to reduce and really address over 200 million of deferred maintenance at the air and space museum. we want to look at how we bring together the capital needs with deferred maintenance. one of the keys that's clear to me is we need to spend our time, focus our attention on preventative maintenance. we want to anticipate what issues we may be able to defer based on actually doing preventative maintenance on that. my open is we'll continue to grow our budgets. we'll need the support. we'll be more systemic and prioritize what we need to do, and then to really just make sure that we're using every opportunity we can to leverage the resources to address that
backlog. >> and i would assume hearing you explain that that there are some places where addressing one problem prevents the second problem from either occurring or getting worse. and hvac system that's not working with create all sorts of other problem in the case. is that the kind of thing you're looking at? >> exactly. if you look at, for example, as we think about what we need to do with the castle and the arts and industries. if we can create a central utility system that services all that, it solves a lot of problems. it makes it easier for us to maintain. we're looking at how to be more creative. how to really use the best technology to come up with solutions to the problems we will face. >> and am i right in the castle in the space there, the display, the space there, because of the hvac system, you're not able to use that space for what it was designed for?
>> i think what we have to do with the arts and industries building especially, that's a building that we spent a lot of money to stabilize. the exterior is strong. the roof is good. there's millions of dollars that need to go into turning that into a space that is usable for the public. while we, for example, use that space for my installation, we really are going to have to do new systems. we're going to have to fit out the spaces so it works for the general public. in essence, part of the challenge of the master plan is to look at both the whole notion of the castle as well as the arts and industries and how we use those better to serve not just office space but serve our visitors and public. >> great. i'm sure we'll have time for a second round of questions. and senator udaall is the ranking member on the authorizing committee. you can get a couple of double strokes in here today by talking about the authorizing issues and not just looking at those as appropriating issues.
senator? >> and we work together as on the appropriations economy. he's a cardinal. i'm just a cardinal in waiting. but chairman blunt, with your permission, i would -- there's another hearing. i'm going to allow her to proceed with her questioning at this point. >> thank you. thank you charnl and ranking member. i appreciate the opportunity. obviously i have similar concerns about the maintenance backlog. want to do whatever we can to assist and give you the resources you need to address that. i co-want -- do want to ask a question. you talked about having 155 million on jelkts? >> 155 million. >> you talked about the storage. and it's necessary to have a plan for that. and you mentioned a collections space framework plan. can you talk a little bit more about that and are there challenges that you're facing and what we should be aware of? >> as somebody who was a
curator, as a director of a museum, i realize that the only thing that's permanent in the smithsonian are the collections informal everything else is fleeting. and so it's important for us to preserve those collections, but to also realize that we're going to have to continue to build the collections. as new stories are told, new research is done. so what we've looked at is creating this collections framework document in 2015 was so important. it was the first time that it gave us an accurate sense of exactly what the conditions were. in all the spaces, all the buildings, what kind of kwin equipment we had, and that's given us the strategic opportunity to really move creatively to address this issue. clearly it's a long term issue. it's going to be decades to do this. but because of the support we've received, we've been able to do some things i think are really important. we've been able to look at the sites that were the worst that had great deterioration, that
had decontaminations. we've been able to decontaminate all those artifacts, look at new ways to move them. with your support, we've been able to build new spaces that can hold artifacts both at dulles and at the suitland campus. what that allows us to do is it allows us to address the most serious problems, but it also allows us to have the kind of swing space that we need as, for example q when we move the air and space museum, we've got to be able to move artifacts away. that will give us the kind of storage we can use down the road. >> thank you. and you talked a little bit about new opportunities here. i want to take advantage of you being the founding director of the smithsonian's national museum of american -- african american history and culture. because i'm a big supporter of the national museum of the american latino, and i guess my question to you is what opportunities do you foresee in establishing the national museum of the american latinos that we
can start working on now to bring this to fruition? if there's one thing i know how as to, it's to build a national museum. the challenge for us is to recognize that we're going to have to realize that we're going to have to build the money to build the institution, to maintain it, to build the collections, but also to make sure that we're bringing resources in to the smithsonian so that we can handle our deferred maintenance. and i think that there are many issues to think about. issues of if you're going to build a latino museum, how does the money get allocated? when we built the african american museum, there was no mechanism to be sure when federal money would come, and that made it hard to strategize and plan. i think it's also crucially important to realize that if we're going to build new museums, it has a major impact on the central services of the smithsonian. >> security. maintenance. we've got to realize there's got to be resources put in those
areas if we're going to be able to do a museum that's worthy of the smithsonian. what the right commitment we can do things that will make the group proud. >> thank you all for all the good work. really appreciate it. >> thank you. >> secretary, on that topic, are you suggesting if we were going to do another private/public partnership, that we could do a better job as you're raising that money knowing what points you needed to make when public money would then follow? >> exactly. i think that even if there was a mechanism that said it was a one to one machl, or that you knew that at certain points along the construction process that you could count on a certain amount of federal money. what we had to do was every year, obviously, come back and some years we did well on capital. some years we didn't. and that made it difficult to actually move the museum along as quickly as i would like. it took us 11 years, that's
moving quick in the federal system. but in some ways, i think that there are things i've learned that we can short-cut that a little bit. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, secretary bunch for not just your service, for being here today, and your long history in such a, i think distinguished field. along the lines as senator cortez mastoe, not on the latino museum, but we're at the 100th ratification giving women the right to vote. you mentioned this in your statement. on the smithsonian american history museum act which i am a co-sponsor. obviously you've talked a little bit about building a museum from the ground up. i wonder -- and you mentioned the perspectives in terms of the financing. i don't know if you have any
perspectives here on if this act were to pass how that would come to fruition. >> there are a couple things to think about. first, it is so important that if we do a museum on the history of american women, it's important to recognize that while it's both a story of individual women, it's really a story that is a lens that helps us understand what it means to be an american. we have to frame it in a broader way so it's a story that's shaped everyone. i think that what i'm very proud of is the fact that the smithsonian has this american women's history initiative which is allowing us to do important work that crosses throughout the smithsonian. it allows us to look at what are issues that could be explored in a museum, how do you build collections? what kind of staff do you need? in a way, the american women's history initiative is a commitment that the smithsonian makes regardless of what happens in the future that we will make sure the stories are told in a way that is meaningful and
accessible. >> thank you. i'm very much interested in that. the other thing coming from a rural state that's not too far away, west virginia, the smithsonian's reach is broad into all 50 states and probably globally as well. could you talk a little bit about what the efforts the smithsonian is making to make sure that you don't have to come to washington d.c., although c that would be great, to enjoy the gifts that the smithsonian can give. >> i think you framed it in the exact right way. the wonders of the smithsonian deserve to be something that touches every school and touches every american home. and in order to do that, we've got to build on the things we do traditionally even better. but we have to think about how do you create the virtual smithsonian? how do you take the collections, the expertise of the smithsonian so that people aren't coming just to see the virtual museum of air and space but the wonders
of the smithsonian in ways that help them understand history, art science and broader issues like identity, and globalization, and technology. so what i'm committed to doing is really looking at how do we create that smithsonian that's virtual? how do we bring in partners from around the country so, therefore, we can have the reach. because i think it is important that the millions of people globally who want to come to the smithsonian should have the access. the other side is to do a better job with our affiliates program. to do a better job with our traveling exhibition service and make sure we reach out in direct ways to communities small and large. >> let me ask you this. we had the carla hayden, the librarian of congress here last week, i believe. and a lot of what the direction they're moving is digitizing of their collection, all collection. and you're talking about a virtual sort of museum. are you working with the library
of congress? it's got to be a lot of intersection there of all kinds of not just history but documentations and other things. >> we started to work more effectively with the library of congress. i partnered with them when i was the director of the museum. tomorrow i think the librarian of congress and others are sitting down to begin to look at what are the things we can do. >> right. the national archives does have an exhibit on the ratification of the 19th amendment that's very good, and i know they've put a lot of resources into that. i'm not going to ask you the resource question. i know that's the big question. you can do anything if you have enough full-time, money, and resources. so i appreciate what you're doing with the resources you have. thank you for being here today. >> thank you. thank you for the recognition, and welcome, again. i'm going to focus and follow up
a little bit on senator cortez-mastos question in the a latino museum question. they've played an important role in over 500 years. in new mexico that history and ongoing influence is celebrated. it is time for our national institutions to also recognize and lift up the important contributions made by latinos and latinas in our country. our heritage, history, cultural tapestry. self-identified hispanics make up one first of our population and represent the largest ethnic group in the united states. that's why i've co-sponsored senator menendez's bill to establish the smithsonian latino museum. there was also one that provides an additional $1.5 million for
the latino center and expands programs for existing museums. if the final bill includes that increase, what do you plan to the with the additional funding and more broadly, what steps are you taking to ensure that the smithsonian is including the latino experience in all the museums? >> one of the things i'm proudest of is the fact we've created the latino center. it's transformed the smithsonian. as you know, the real power in the smithsonian museum directors or secretaries is curators. it's people who do the research and bring in the collections. and what the latino center allowed us to do is embed curators who have that expertise. so one, we want to build on that. and that my sense is that any support we get will allow us to
continue to hire people will help the center do its work, but also as you know, one of the things that's really important for us is that the latino center is now following the pattern that we did at the african american museum. it was to create a gallery in the museum of american history that allows you to do exhibitions and hire staff and build collections. so i think any of the resources we have will also go into that. because i think it's really important for us to be able to demonstrate in very concrete ways, here is the space with that important story, and it's always told. >> thank you, secretary bunch. obviously i hope that the work that the latino center is doing will now lay the ground work for the passage of the legislation to create a new latino museum. i think it's critical that congress take action not just to support your existing facilities' needs, but also to build this new museum. when you and i last met, we talked about the importance of you meeting with the museum's
advocates. groups like the national association of latino arts and council, and friends and the friends group working in support of the museum creation, and many others. have you had the opportunity to meet with the groups and what are you hearing from them? >> i've had opportunities to talk to individuals, not collective groups. i'm meeting with the congressional hispanic caucus soon. what i'm hearing is one yarks commitment for people to realize and recognize that the smithsonian cares about this subject, and wants to do even more. and there's a great deal of interest in having me come talk to people about how do we build the african american museum? what are the steps and challenges? so what i'm hearing is great excitement. and i think that what i want to make sure is that as we share that excitement, we also make sure that we're doing very concrete things that people can see today that lay a foundation
for the future. >> the interior sub committee bill funds the women's history initiative at $3.7 million. what is the smithsonian doing with the current resources to celebrate and deepen the public's understanding of the contributions of american women, how would the additional $1.7 million be used to expand that and prepare for a permanent museum? >> again, much like the latino center, being able to explore this history of american women raerl allows us to build collections which are key to building a new museum. it allows us to do exhibitions that cross boundaries. i'm excited about we're about to do an exhibition of the museum of american history on girlhood. it will allow people to understand the lens through sort of adolescence and women. it's really important for us to say that i want to be sure that curators throughout the smithsonian have the guidance and the resources to make sure
that issues of gender are explored in every of our museums. >> thank you, mr. secretary. >> thank you, senator. secretary, there's been 12 bills filed in this congress for looking at the potential for different museums or emphasis in museums. today you've mentioned asian americans, asian pacific americans. latinos, latino americans, and women's museum. all that's been part of this discussion. assuming those would happen, i think unreasonable to think that all of them would happen or that any of them would be in place within a decade. maybe we learned enough from the 11-year effort that if we got started we'd be done ten years from now. that's too long to wait to tell all those stories as effectively as we can. are you giving consideration to more prominence of those stories
in the existing facilities which, of course, would mean telling less of other stories in the existing -- >> what would your plan be in all those areas for the coming decades, no matter what we do fr one or more of those other important components of who we are? >> my career has been about expanding the canon, making sure that we understand the rich diversity of america not to explore just the particular community, but to help us understand who we are as americans. i'm bringing that commitment to the rest of the smithsonian. it is my expectation that we will build on the work of the asian-american pacific center that is really doing important work, helping us find new collections and new stories. i'm thinking about how as we create the virtual smithsonian, these issues should be at the heart so people will be able to tap that virtual presence and understand latino issues, african-american issue,
asian-american issues, issues of gender. so we are not waiting on any museum to be built. we are committed to making sure that the smithsonian represents america and gives all its visitors a better understanding of who we are by looking at us through different lenses. >> the -- you know, the park service as they now enter the second century, the park service and we're getting very close to the beginning of the third century of the smithsonian, they're being looking more at public, private efforts and we got to watch this closely at the arch which after 60 years we needed a number of things done, and became a huge, local and individual donor effort and had rights that were not a part of the park service in the past and it really produced a result that we wouldn't have been able to
produce otherwise. are you thinking about that potential and then i know there are parts of the smithsonian already that are -- that have had a sponsor when they were built or an exhibit that has a sponsor. is there any capacity there for us to do some -- some fund-raising that would allow maintenance in return for recognition in parts of some of these facilities? >> there is also a great opportunity to build and expand on the public/private partnership. the truth of the matter is it's very difficult for us to find philanthropic support for some of the behind the scenes and some of the maintenance. >> right. >> i think the notion that the smithsonian has done very well in its fund-raising over the last decade has been able to find new partners who have brought resources to allow us to tell different stories or more important stories. so my goal is to continue to build that public/private partnership to do the fund raising and also where there are
opportunities. for example, we're looking at what can be the philanthropic support for fixing the castle in the arts and industries and there are such historic business and maybe there's more philanthropic support and we're looking in those directions to find funds wherever we can. >> i was a university president for four years once and nobody wants to give money for the electrical system. on the other hand, if you get money for the electrical system and part of the understanding is one of the things we're going to do is we're going to re-wire the theater which is currently -- has no patron. >> right. i just think it's something we ought to be thinking about, and when you do think about that, the public/private partnership can't be -- we just have with this partner a new source of revenue and there does have to be collaborative discussion as to what that partner would hope to have happen and our commitment to be a part of it -- just something to think about,
and i know i'm confident based on your past experience you have given that some thought, and i think you'd find support for that and enrichment of that in the congress if you go in that direction. senator capitow. >> senator udall? >> thank you for the recognition, mr. chairman. secretary bunch is the vice chairman on indiana, fairs and i strongly support the tribe's inherent right to exercise self-government which includes the ability to protect and maintain tribal cultural p patrimony such as recordings and many museums and universities including the smithsonian currently hold these recordings in their collections. under current law it's basketball that those culturally sensitive recordings could be released to the public domain which is a major concern for
tribes across the country. last week, i brought this issue up with the library of congress in a hearing before this committee and was told that the library was working on the smithsonian on tribal engagement. i can get your commitment to working with the library of congress and to engaging with tribes on this important issue? >> not only are we -- will we work with the library of congress, but we've done a lot of work in this particular area. one of the things we've done at the center for folk life and cultural heritage is created what we call a shared stewardship collections policy which allows us to look at the native holdings that we have to make sure that native communities shape our collections policies and shape our access. we actually communicate and consult with those communities to make sure that we're not letting sacred music or issues that shouldn't be in the broad, public hand. so we're doing the best we can to ensure that we are honoring the intangible heritage of the
native communities, and i think that this is one of the most important things we're doing because we will now take that shared stewardship notion and really, i'm going to ask the rest of the smithsonian to look at it to have a policy that shapes the entire smithsonian. >> great. thank you very much. that covered my -- he was looking ahead and he covered my other question there with that answer so i don't -- i just would say in summary that i am standing in for senator klobuchar, and she is very, very proud, i think, of this collection and the idea that the prince guitar and the items from minnesota are displayed here today, and so we will -- and i know the chairman is also very proud of what's happening with missouri. so thank you for bringing those today and i really appreciate it.
>> i think i had my mike on when we were talking about the original bundt pan. >> i said i think i have that. i think we all have the bundt pan. i have the senate appropriations bill thatt senator udall has a provision that would permit you to move forward with your proposal to build as a consolidative headquarters. does that language do what you need to do to get that done, and as i recall, we've talked about that, and there is a foundation involvement which might circle back to my public/private partnership efforts. how will that work and do you feel that the language, as you see it, is adequate for you to do. >> think the language is adequate. i will sort of ask my staff to go back and make sure that there aren't any issues that i don't
know about, but i think it's crucial for us to be able to think in an innovative way, maybe in an unorthodox way to solve the problems that we have and by consolidating the leases that we have and by being able to use the federal sent support to basically pay down that debt, it will ultimately allow us to save an awful lot of money for the government as we move forward. so we're very excited about doing that and i appreciate the damage that you put in to help us do that. >> all right. the last thing i'll ask would be in terms of the plan that secretary gordon has worked on and you were a contributor to that plan, and do you feel that that plan is headed in the right direction and are there any modifications now that you've had time to look at it that you think you may want to make? >> what i think is so powerful about that plan is the notion of reach, relevance, so i'm taking
those words and i'm making sure that they're at the heart of what i want to do. >> by looking at the virtual smithsonian and by realizing that we can't be the institution for the 21st century that we want if we can't fix the prolemms that we have with the processes and hr and the contract and the like. so for me, the framework of the strategic plan is something that i will build on, and i'm just tweaking it to focus on education and the virtual smithsonian. >> great. any other comments from the senators here? secretary bunch, thank you for joining us this morning. we look forward to your leadership at the smithsonian. you come with a unique background and unique gifts with this job and i hope that we can continue to be in communication about that. the record will be open for one week from today. the committee is adjourned.
monday, the supreme court heard oral argument to consider the legality of president trump's decision to reskincind deferred action of childhood arrivals program commonly referred to as daca. you can hear the argument tonight beginning at 8:00 eastern on c-span2. boeing's ceo talk to the infra structure committee about the safety of the 737 max airplane. this is about three hours.