Reagan Library Missing 80,000 Artifacts

Mementos and gifts said to be stolen by insiders
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 8, 2007 7:34 AM CST
The Reagan Library cannot account for 80,000 artifacts.   ((c) myglesias)
camera-icon View 4 more images

(Newser) – As many as 80,000 artifacts that are supposed to be in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California are missing or unaccounted for, the Los Angeles Times reports. A "near universal" meltdown in security procedures apparently allowed employees to pilfer mementos from T-shirts and buttons to valuable gifts from foreign leaders, an audit has found. At least one archivist was fired for theft.

The audit also turned up evidence of neglect: paintings were stacked one atop another, and fragile vases and sculptures were left lying on their sides. Auditors couldn't find objects even when the library's papers attested they were there. Archivists say they'll never know how much has been lost—because nobody ever did a full inventory in the first place.