Monday, February 14, 2011

State Sues Over Assets Of Defunct Peace Museum



Some of you may remember when we brought a traveling exhibit from the Peace Museum to the Eubie Blake Center.  One of the items was the Gold record for John Lennon’s IMAGINE.  When the director of the Center saw that, he freaked out because of the lack of insurance to cover its loss.  For me, this was very sad to read.






State Sues Over Assets Of Defunct Peace Museum Attorney general wants to redistribute pieces in



One of John Lennon's guitars was donated to the Peace Museum by the star's widow, Yoko Ono . It is belived

that Lennon composed the song "Love" on this guitar.


By Cynthia Dizikes,

Chicago Tribune

February 10, 2011,0,239156.story



For nearly three decades, Chicago's Peace Museum served

the city as a lesser-known cultural center with big-name

draws, including the writings of the Rev. Martin Luther

King Jr., the lyrics of Joan Baez and a John Lennon

guitar donated by the star's widow, Yoko Ono.


The museum was founded in 1981 to promote peace through

art. At one time it boasted a collection of nearly

10,000 pieces, but it hit hard times a few years ago and

ultimately closed its doors.


Now state authorities, concerned the museum's pro-peace

relics may have sustained water and mold damage after

being stashed away in storage facilities, have filed an

unusual lawsuit to try to protect the property from



The Illinois attorney general's office wants a judge to

appoint an individual to inventory the museum's

collection - which once contained thousands of pieces of

art, photographs, anti-war quilts, sculptures and

manuscripts - and then distribute them to other

charitable institutions.


The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court,

contended that the museum's former administrator now has

limited control over the assets, which are being stored

at the museum's last location at the Garfield Park field

house as well as two other storage facilities.


"The goal is to ensure that the assets can remain in the

charitable sector," said Maura Possley, a spokeswoman

for Attorney General Lisa Madigan.


After seeing an increase in interest following the Sept.

11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the museum started running

into financial difficulties. In 2004, Melissa McGuire,

its former administrator, told the Tribune that she was

putting her paycheck back into the museum, buying paint,

feeding volunteers and using her frequent flier miles to

bring in guest speakers.


McGuire, who is named as a defendant in the lawsuit,

could not be reached Thursday for comment.


"It breaks my heart that it is not alive and well," said

Jackie Rivet-River, a former museum board member. "It

was a proud and wonderful piece of Chicago's history

that should have been maintained and funded and



The Chicago Park District, which has been housing part

of the collection, welcomed the lawsuit.


"They have said they would come by and pick it up, and

they still haven't and this has been three or four years

now," said Zvez Kubat, a Park District spokeswoman.

"(But) we're not just going to pitch them. . We are

hoping that somebody will come and pick them up."




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