It’s not everyday that the Smithsonian Institution goes head-to-head with another preservationist entity like the LA Conservancy. Both would like to have the murals located in the lobby of the Los Angeles Golden State Mutual Building. The Smithsonian National Museum of African History would like to purchase two murals by Charles Alston and Hale Woodruff for $750,000 because they demonstrate “early black Californians including explorers, cowboys and oil riggers.” They would like to remove them from the building to display them at their new museum located on the second floor in the Natural Museum on American History, which is due to be begin construction in March 2012 in DC. The LA Conservancy would like the murals to remain and they are seeking to landmark the building in order to preserve the murals in situ. There is a hearing scheduled for March 28 to decide their fate.
Here’s another link to the story in The New York Times.