WEST PALM BEACH — The South
Florida Science Museum has paid $12,000 to a former board
member after several pieces of space memorabilia disappeared.
member, a retired Catskills stage manager who now runs a DVD
duplication business in Boca Raton, believes two hammers and a
Russian shuttle window were stolen while on loan to the West
Palm Beach museum. He demanded that the museum reimburse him
for what he paid for the items. Newman, who left the board in
January, in part because of the dispute. "Remember all
the space stuff? The suits, the mannequins? All the robots? I
own those robots. All of that was mine."
said they have no records to prove the missing items were lost
by them. Under previous management, Newman came and went with
his space stuff without keeping records, said Deputy Director
Newman is a space
and robot collector who lends his collection to science
museums and libraries. A longtime backer of the museum, Newman
kept the collection at the science museum between bookings, he
said. He insisted the items were there and vanished one day.
two hammers - one was used on the MIR space station, another
on construction of the international space station," he
said. "They also lost a 90-pound cockpit shuttle window
from the Russian space shuttle."
Because of the
lack of records, Docekal said, museum officials felt they had
no choice but to accept Newman's demands.
As a result of the
dispute, some of the cosmonaut and NASA space suits that used
to be a fixture of the museum are now on display at the
Boynton Beach City Library.
"When he made
this allegation that we had lost the hammer and the window, we
got all his stuff together, cleaned it and packaged it, and
returned it to him," Docekal said. "We just took
responsibility and made it right."
looking to hurt anybody, I was looking for what I paid,"