Carmichael Room to move to accommodate new labs
Family of famous songwriter must agree to have artifacts moved
By Mike Wilson
University plans to move the archival Hoagy Carmichael Room from Morrison Hall to the Indiana Memorial Union are raising criticisms from some faculty and graduate students.\nThe space in Morrison Hall would be converted into a new biology lab, while artifacts ranging from the original sheet music for "Star Dust," Carmichael's most famous hit, to a cartoon representing him in "The Flintstones" would be displayed in a newly built room at the IMU, said Neil Theobald, IU Bloomington vice chancellor for budget and administration.\nThe room is currently used for a variety of ethnomusicology programs, as well as a museum and archive for scholars and those interested in Carmichael.\nTheobald said IU hoped to prominently display the work of one of the University's most distinguished alumni, while freeing much needed space for a new lab. In the next two years, IU will offer two new science majors, in biotechnology and human biology, which necessitates a new lab for science programs already crunched for space and time, he said. Near the end of the month, Theobald said he will meet with the family, and any move would depend on their approval.\n"If we don't get a new lab, we would, in the short-term, have to squeeze two pounds of flour into a one-pound bag," Theobald said. He said such a schedule could only last for one or two years.\nSome faculty and graduate students disagree with the plan, stating artifacts as brittle and fragile as old sheet music need the current climate-controlled atmosphere provided in the current space. Many of the most treasured Carmichael relics, including an Academy Award, are currently stored in the room, which is open to students upon request. They are part of about 3,500 articles donated by Carmichael's sons to the University following his death in 1981. Graduate student June Tomastick said she disagreed with the plan because of the room's importance to the ethnomusicology program and its value as a museum. Meanwhile, others argued against the plan on grounds of preservation.\n"They didn't show they had a good plan, thus it would shut down a tribute to one of Indiana's greatest icons," said Bob Stoll, professor emeritus at the IU School of Music. Stoll directed the Singing Hoosiers for more than 30 years while teaching and conducting at IU, and has performed many of the Indiana legend's tunes, he added.\nAlthough a room at the IMU might ease access to important pieces of history, the strong archival standards of the current room would need to be replicated if the artifacts are moved, Stoll said.\nHe said preservation of the items was part of the reason the Carmichaels donated the artifacts to the University.\nSuzanne Mudge, librarian of the IU Archives of Traditional Music, which plays a central role in the operation of the room, declined comment. IU spokesman Larry MacIntyre said he has yet to discuss the issue with other administrators.\nThe room will be in full swing today, as performers will play Carmichael originals at noon in an annual celebration of his Nov. 22 birthday. The event is free to the public.
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