July 17, 2013
Last week the unthinkable happened. Christopher Leitch, the long-time Historic House Director at the Kansas City Museum was abruptly fired by Union Station Kansas City CEO George Gaustello. The outrage on local social media outlets was immediate, many calling for a reversal and reinstatement of the beloved caretaker of the Corinthian Hall edifice.
What’s done is done, however. Nobody in their right mind could or would expect Leitch to return to work under the hostile work environment that exists under the management of Gaustello and the Board of Directors at Union Station.
USKC Management has had one goal from the very beginning, to gut the Kansas City Museum of its collections and resources – financial and otherwise – and leave another empty, hulking shell of a building in what they deem a second class neighborhood.
This Newshound says it’s time to focus, however. Those who expressed outrage need to channel that rage into positive energy in the ongoing support of KCM, its programs and the outreach that was established under Leitch’s leadership to some of Kansas City’s lesser represented communities. The community at large needs to rally behind the Kansas City Museum Advisory Board and its mission in establishing the Kansas City Museum at Corinthian Hall as a separate entity with a separate mission, separate goals and a separate board of directors, unencumbered by Union Station Management. That goal of autonomy is clearly within reach and is largely why Leitch was fired. Gaustello saw a threat to his revenue stream, the Mil Levy. Note to George: The Museum survived for 61 years without your over-reaching and meddling and it soon will again.