Items bought for Pennsylvania Wild West museum may be sold

Reuters News
Posted: May 25, 2011 4:58 PM
Items bought for Pennsylvania Wild West museum may be sold

PITTSBURGH (Reuters) - A Pennsylvania mayor wants to sell thousands of historical artifacts acquired by a previous administration in a failed effort to build a Wild West museum in the central part of the state, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

Putting a Wild West museum in the state capital of Harrisburg was a project of former Mayor Stephen Reed, said Robert Philbin, communications director for current Mayor Linda Thompson.

She asked the city council on Tuesday night for permission to proceed with a sale of some 15,000 artifacts collected for the Wild West museum and other proposed museums, Philbin said.

The city has already sold about 2,900 items purchased for the museum under Reed's administration, raising about $1.7 million, he said.

The former mayor spent about $30 million in public money from 1996 through 2006 on The National Civil War Museum, which opened about 10 years ago, as well as the Wild West museum and two other failed museum projects, according to local media.

Among the items that could go up for sale are hundreds of pistols and rifles, sheriffs' badges, clothing, tools, native American headdresses and artifacts from the Battle of Little Bighorn, Philbin said.

Reed served as Harrisburg's mayor for 28 years and left office in 2010, after losing to Thompson in a Democratic primary as he sought reelection.

Thompson submitted a request to the city council to seek expert advice on the marketing and sale of the items, he said.

(Reporting by Daniel Lovering; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Jerry Norton)