"The PT Barnum of presidential libraries"

That's how the Lincoln Library and Museum's Richard Norton Smith is described in this exellent piece of reporting from the State Journal-Register. Some points that struck me (in story order):

* The Springfield and Sangamon County Economic Development Council as of last month had not yet figured out if attendance at presidential libraries increases or declines over time. "It's normal for it to shrink," Smith replied.

* Smith appears to be battling expectations raised by flawed heritage tourism studies. "Smith is wary of studies that, as he told the EDC, 'tell you what you want to hear.'"

* Chicago Sun-Times columnist Steve Neal (deceased) had led a "crusade" against the previous (Republican) governor for turning the complex into what Smith called a "patronage dump."

* There is considerable tension between Illinois and Smith: "I've felt almost every day since coming here that I've been walking into buzz saws," he told EDC members.

* Smith's relations with the University of Kansas and its Dole center were troubled. "I don't think he gets universities. It's part of his personality."

Anomalies, paradoxes, and bizarre statements:

* "If this is just a tourist attraction, we failed," Smith warned.

* "Frankly," Smith said, "it [the Lincoln Library and Museum] had escaped by the skin of its teeth from becoming a patronage dump.

* Smith said his primary struggle has been state government rules making it difficult to hire more minorities.

There is much more here. Tip of the hat to Abraham Lincoln Online.