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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions August 01, 2014

6/17/2012 10:03:00 PM
Letter: Let's support Sharlot Hall Museum


The Sharlot Hall Museum is strangling slowly in front of our eyes. It's been doing so for some years now.

If you have ever had a tour there (perhaps as a child with your classmates) or attended one of the festivals, I appeal to you to join the many who are planning to attend the meeting at 3 p.m. Thursday, July 21. It will take place at the Granite Creek building on McCormick Street, the brick building that holds the library.

If you've never visited Sharlot Hall Museum, but thought you might some day, it may be too late. Even as new buildings go up, festivals are being dropped and jobs are being cut. What good are empty buildings?

We as a community need to show up and find out just what can be done to turn this situation around. Let's show up en masse and show the Board of Directors that the community does care.

Randi Wise


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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, July 13, 2012
Article comment by: Knowledge is the key...to not looking stupid

@ Joyce Read

When I moved to Prescott, I too took a pay cut. Why did I move to Prescott? Because I didn't want my kids growing up in Southern California. That makes me a good dad, but it is far from making me a good administrator.

Posted: Friday, July 13, 2012
Article comment by: Joyce Read

John Langelier is a jewel at Sharlot Hall Museum and an extremely learned and well-wrtitten researcher and scholar. What many may not know is that he took a huge pay cut to come to Prescott from his previous position. He did this for family, not to be one of "the good ol' boys" or to make money. He should be commended for his actions and his hard work to further the mission of the museum.

Posted: Thursday, June 21, 2012
Article comment by: Tom Von Deck

Two words: Beer festival. Seems to be what works around here.

Posted: Thursday, June 21, 2012
Article comment by: Trades Building

The Trades building is not completely being built with dedicated funding. Money has been borrowed from other accounts. Not a little white lie either.

Posted: Thursday, June 21, 2012
Article comment by: What in the world is the Museum's Board Thinkins

Every once in a while an organization is lucky enough to employ a creative, hardworking, inspired, loving, enthusiastic employee. As time goes on these special employees prove themselves to be invaluable, they create community, create presentations, events in which the community can get together and learn, laugh and think. These employees are a treasure!
Only the most dimwitted, board of directors and managers would cut out the programs which these dedicated employees created and successfully implemented.
It seems that this is the case with one of the most creative members of the Sharlot Hall Museum’s Staff, Jody Drake.
These very shortsighted folks have cut Jody’s hours, making her a part time employee, therefore slashing her benefits to zero! I’m sure that they want her to perform all the duties that she did before the cut! They do this after, many, many, years of her dedicated, inspired service. They do this to Jody, all the while they are building a multimillion dollar building to add to their campus? Buildings do not make the Museum successful, it is the people that are working in those buildings! I am very disappointed in this decision!

Posted: Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Article comment by: Prescott Historical Society is a Department State of Arizona

The Prescott Historical Society is a Department within the State of Arizona plus a Non-Profit entity. The State of Arizona is on record as funding $86,250.00 of Director Langellier’s salary plus his benefits. The rest of the Director’s salary comes from the non-profit part of the Prescott Historical Society.


Ph Museum Dir Prescott Historical Society
40 hours per week no overtime: $86,520.00

Posted: Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Article comment by: Some S'plaining To Do

@ Sharlot Hall Fan
That is such a pertinent question, what pool of money does the Executive Director draw his salary from.

In 2009 there were drastic State cuts, to the tune of $97,000 to the museum. Proposed by the governor, every year for five years the museum would be cut 20% of its funding. Five years, no funding thus transitioning the museum over the Sharlot Hall Historical Society. John Langellier proposed that the difference in wages the State was cutting be made up by the Sharlot Hall Historical Society. That a transition from the Prescott Historical Society had advantages in being fully funded by the Sharlot Hall Historical Society. This proposal was said to be only for the fiscal year 2009-2010. Chosen, was one of several proposals put to the Board of Trustees to supplement the State funded employees by using a formula of 50/50% for Director and Business Manager, and 80/20% for all other State funded employees. The 20% being the Sharlot Hall Historical Society contributing supplementation. The salary and benefit package needed for the Directors salary in 2009 totaled $113,610.38, of which the Sharlot Hall Historical Society paid $56,805.19 for fiscal year 2009-2010. Since then, things have slowly been turning around, and the State has reduced its cuts. Question, were there further cuts this year, 2012, to the museum? Was the 2009 supplementation continued past the 2009-2010 fiscal year?

Is there now a supplementation percentage made by the Sharlot Hall Historical Society to the State employees for fiscal year 2012-2013? Excellent question, if it is so, it brings an even greater number of questions, perhaps even questions of ethics.

And John, would you please explain all about those advantages you mentioned in 2009, of being fully funded by the Sharlot Hall Historical Society, to all of the Sharlot Hall Historical Society employees who are to be cut from full time employees to 32 hours a week without benefits?

Posted: Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Article comment by: Another Concern

As stated in the Courier article, the director would have the public believe that the new trades building is being funded COMPLETELY by money donated for that purpose (restricted). Perhaps the Courier should do a bit more fact-finding and ask what percentage of the total cost is actually restricted donations. They might find that the largest percentage of the $900,000 is allocated by the Board's discretion. Is that building important enough to sacrifice the employees and the programming which increases revenues to the Museum and to Prescott? Does that make any financial sense?

Posted: Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Article comment by: Randi Wise

Yes..... the meeting I'm referring to is JUNE 21st, There is a membership meeting at 5pm on the grounds of museum. The 3pm meeting (THIS Thurs.) is the board meeting. It is open to the general public. If you want to speak to the board, call the museum (front desk is fine) and get registered. Members.... come early for your meeting and walk across the street to show community support. If the board will listen, it looks like folks have some really good ideas on raising funds to keep things going. See you on Thursday, JUNE 21st. 3pm

Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Article comment by: Bill Gaillard

Under no circumstances whatsoever should we ever allow any more of our records, photographs, or archives to be sent to The Arizona Historical History or State Archives.

If they want copies or prints, that's what they get---nothing more.

Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Article comment by: Bob Roberts

Liz Wilson--

You clearly do not understand how open meetings work. You have about 48 hours to learn, before your donors turn on you.

Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Article comment by: SHARLOT HALL FAN

How much is the current director really paid. It's
my understanding that he draws the maximum amount he can from the state and additional funds from the Historical society. If so, he is riding on the backs of his staff whom he disrespects from day one. Small wonder then that morale is almost non-existant. The board is
well aware of the morale problem and just doesn't seem at all concerned. Why is the Courrier also unconcerned?

Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Article comment by: Hey Kent

Looks like from Liz Wilson comments it will be a cold day in hell before the Sharlot Hall Board of Trustees actually listen. Hmm, maybe we can start a fire under THEM and not have to burn the antiques. If not, I hope as a matter of record people ask for resignations at the meeting.

Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Article comment by: Excuse Me, Another Voice

What you state as fact is wrong. The State of Arizona does own a large percent of the Sharlot Hall Museum buildings, the Sharlot Hall Historical Society owns some of the buildings as well. It is the Sharlot Hall Historical Society that has been drained of resources propping up the Prescott Historical Society (State).
Better check your facts.

Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Article comment by: Another Dog Turned Loose

@Another Voice
Facts? Which facts would you like to dispute. The Museum is in dire straits as the Executive Director has indicated. Before the present Executive Director came, the museum was on solid ground. I am very intimately acquainted with the museum. Tell me what you question I will give you the facts. Some may just be a matter of record, such as the Board President using his position to bring in his group. It is a fact just the same. Museum donors have been been driven away from the museum, look at Museum Membership as it is and where it was. Blaming the economy, blaming the State, who was in the drivers seat and takes no accountability? Thank God for the excellent volunteer force or this museum could not function. Fact: the Executive Director has driven away volunteers with his arrogance. Wish I could get the name of the new volunteer to Sharlot Hall Museum who, on seeing John Langellier said, "He is here? I know him from the Reagon Library Museum, I am not volunteering here!" Fact is I can give you more fact than you have the stomach to swallow. What substantiation do you want on which facts? Take an antacid pill before you ask.

Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Article comment by: Another Voice

I have one comment: Who let the Dogs out? These people are rabid naysayers who seem to hate everyone associated with the Museum! As usual, these posters don't let the actual facts get in the way of a good rant. I'm sure some of them are well-meaning, but the people of Prescott do not own this Museum - the state of Arizona does!

Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Article comment by: Museum Fan

We discovered the museaum not long after relocating here and found it a great source of historical information about our long-desired new permanent home.

Sadly the staff was not as user friendly as the installations and events.

That said, so many Boards of Directors today have abandoned their fiduciary responsibilities to their organizations and seem to have forgotten that raising money is a huge part of their charge. WHen Boards throw their Directors under the bus and cripple them into running an organization without funds or support the organization will be hard pressed to survive.

Many of our local nonprofits are in a similar position. Board Members-wake up and don't abandon the organizations that you were appointed to support!

Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Article comment by: Date Is Wrong! It Is This Thursday!

People get to talk after the Sharlot Hall Board of Trustees votes on the proposed budget. Your message will at least be recorded in BOT minutes if you are allowed to speak after the vote (maybe). The leadership at the Sharlot Hall Museum is out of touch, demand resignations.

Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Article comment by: : *

Mrs. Drake is the only one I have met at Sharlot Hall in recent years in a position of influence that seems to really care about the place. Maybe this is why she has been chosen for cutting and dismissal?

Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Article comment by: @ A Prediction

The Arizona Historical History has desperately wanted the Sharlot Hall collections and archives for a long time. It is also well known that John Langellier has become quite good friends with them......hmmmmmmm. ...

Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Article comment by: A prediction.

The Arizona Historical Society would like to have the holdings of the Sharlot Hall Museum. And may very well get them... They certainly couldn't do any worse in exhibiting them.

Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Article comment by: One That KNOWS

Looks like this deal is turning into the mess the Golf Course is in. time for a BIG CHANGE, if not locker up and throw away the key.
How many money pits can we support?

Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Article comment by: Jim Pool

If you wish to show your support for the Sharlot Hall Museum, in particular, the Education Department, the Blue Rose Theater and Jody Drake, attend one of the performances of “Ladies of the Garden: We Will Vote” at the Blue Rose Theater this weekend or next weekend. See the museum's website for details.

Posted: Monday, June 18, 2012
Article comment by: History Lover

We have been supporters of SHM for the 11 years we've lived here. Under former director Richard Simms, donors were appreciated and events drew people to the SHM campus. Our donations grew every year.

Simms left, as everyone does eventually, and the present director came in. First year, I asked for a proper receipt for my donation and was told by the new director that they couldn't do that. My CPA said everyone else does, but if they won't then you can't deduct your (substantial) donation. After numerous requests, they finally gave me one, but the tone was set.

We used to attend the popular Canyon Country series at SHM. It got so popular that they required reservations (even though they didn't tell anyone). Waiting outside one Sunday for limited seating, I mentioned to the paid employee who was guarding the door that we were donors at a certain level. Her reply was a mix of "what's that?" and "so what." That was the last year we gave more than the minimum.

Now Liz Wilson (Mrs. Jack Wilson????) says, in essence, we don't care what you think. Last straw!! Next spring when my membership comes up for renewal, unless there are a lot of personnel changes on the Board and at the top, forget it.

Posted: Monday, June 18, 2012
Article comment by: A thought on philanthropy today in Prescott.

I have over the years given substantial money (donations) to both the Prescott Public Library and Sharlot Hall Museum. But with councilman Blair bloviating endlessly over the cost of running a free public library in Prescott, and hoping to influence the mayor and the rest of the council to make our fine library a revenue generator for the city at the expense of the residents of Prescott. All so they will have money for golf carts and to buy land for grocery stores. And the venerable Sharlot Hall Museum in debt, on a downward spiral, mismanaged by its board and director, and falling apart before our very eyes ... Why would anyone in their right mind give a penny to either of them? Just thinking.

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