Sen. Sanders questions Chinese products at the Smithsonian
While Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) was doing some shopping right before Christmas at the National Museum of American History, he noticed some of the presidential statuettes were made in China. He wasn't surprised but worried about the example the Smithsonian was setting.
And Sanders wondered why, given that these miniatures were of American presidents and U.S. manufacturing was suffering.
"It appears that a museum owned by the people of the United States, celebrating the history of the United States, cannot find companies in this country employing American workers that are able to manufacture statues of our founding fathers, or our current president. That is pretty pathetic! I was not aware that the collapse of our manufacturing base had gone that far," wrote Sanders in a letter to Brent D. Glass, the museum's director.
Almost immediately after receiving Sanders' letter on Tuesday, Glass replied that the merchandising at the museum shop comes under the jurisdiction of Smithsonian Enterprises, the for-profit unit of the Smithsonian Institution that handles the gift shops, movie theaters and other revenue centers.
Glass said the policy of selling foreign-made goods in the museum stores was under review by Smithsonian officials.
"Please be assured that a formal response is coming that will address the issue about products not manufactured in the U.S. being sold at the Smithsonian," wrote Glass.
In his letter Sanders underscored the economics of his complaint.
"Please do not misunderstand me. I am a great fan of the Smithsonian museums and I think the National Museum of American History does a great job. But, as a nation, we have all got to be aware that one of the major reasons that the unemployment rate in this country is so high is because it is increasingly difficult to find products in our nation's stores that are manufactured in this country. Our national museum should do its best to be a model in helping us address that crisis situation," Sanders wrote
| January 19, 2011; 2:00 PM ET
Categories: Jacqueline Trescott, Museums, Smithsonian | Tags: American manufacturing, Chinese manufacturing, National Museum of American History, Sen. Bernard Sanders, Smithsonian Institution
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