The commission that runs a Columbia museum tasked with housing a Confederate battle flag which once flew on the Statehouse grounds now says it will have to “regroup” with another plan for its future this summer.
The Confederate Relic Room & Military Museum Commission met Wednesday for the first time after state lawmakers ended up not acting on a $3.6 million proposal for the flag’s future home. Key members of the House budget committee had questioned the request’s size and whether the small Columbia museum is even the best place for the banner.
Museum director Allen Roberson said he’s not sure what will happen this upcoming year. “Our budget is so tight and so tight,” he said. “This flag is unique. It’s not really a military history artifact. It’s a different kind of artifact. It has all sorts of context and all sorts of meaning to it.”
As part of a deal to remove the flag last year, legislators ordered the commission to come up with a permanent display. The current $3.6 million proposal is not just for the flag itself, but would also expand existing exhibit space in addition to a new $550,000 display for the flag. Commissioners submitted that plan after legislators criticized a more ambitious $5.3 million version.
Commission Chairman George Dorn said the legislature’s refusal to consider the plan is a sign board members need to “regroup,” according to the Charleston Post & Courier.
The flag has been housed in a climate-controlled storage room with other museum collection items until a new display is finished. Roberson said the Relic Room is also about to undergo a reaccreditation process, which could impact its work on a permanent display.