Presidential Museum and UTPB in Talks to Reopen Museum

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

ODESSA-- Talks have officially started on how to keep the doors open at the Presidential Museum in Odessa.

If everything goes according to plan, the museum will stay open and the University will gain a valuable asset to it's teaching and research ability.   But most importantly, generations to come will be able to enjoy this one of a kind museum.

With their signatures on letters of intent, UTPB President Dr. David Watts and acting chair for the Presidential Museum Board, Juan Alcantar, have officially agreed to talk about a solution to a very serious problem.

"We've had such a close relationship with UTPB since we moved into this building.  They are the owner of the building, already.  Negotiations and conversations have been ongoing since we knew we were looking at the possibility of closing,"  Alcantar said.

If an agreement is reached, all the artifacts and memoribilia inside the museum would become property of the University.   Something Dr. Watts says, is  a win-win situation, "It would enhance the Unversity.  The library collection is a very valuable collection.  It would be an asset for our students and faculty."

The musuem as a whole would be owned and operated by UTPB.   Exactly how, is still in the works.

"The University has limitations on what it can do, by law.  I'm sure the board has certain things they find are very important that it wants to keep.  We'll just have to work through those as best we can," Dr. Watts explained.

Alacantar says, the Board does have a few specific requests like keeping the current look and feel of the museum, but most importantly, keeping it open to the public, "The collection doesn't  do much use if it's not actually serving the purpose of meeting the educational needs of the community.  And secondly, we want to preserve and maintain the collection, the artifacts and memorabilia,  so that it's there for future generations."

Watt's and UTPB's answer is simple, "What we've agreed to do is to talk about what it would be if the University were to operate it, but I can tell you this, it will be open 5 days a week.  It will be open 8 hours a day and the public would be able to have access to it."
Everything still has to go through the UT system in Austin.   According to the letters of intent, all discussion would end in mid October.   If an agreement is reached,  UTPB would take over posession of the museum by November of this year.