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- 64 - encouragement the Smithsonian may be raising expectations which the Institution cannot fulfill. The Secretary was encouraged to draw upon the foregoing discussion, and that of the Executive Committee, in formulating a response to interested parties in the Arlington proposal. * * * * * At their meeting in May, 1991, the Regents discussed geographical dispersion of Smithsonian operations. After noting the difficulties of the prevailing economic environment, the Regents indicated although there are programs in place to share traveling exhibitions and information through radio and television, as well as through a series of regional events featuring lectures and performances, the Smithsonian was not currently in a position to offer anything further other than advice with respect to museum opportunities. However, the Regents did suggest that electronic means for linkage of the Institution with organizations in other parts of the country might usefully be explored. The concept of dispersion as envisioned by the Institution has been based on the idea of sharing intellectual resources and public services beyond the immediate Washington, D.C. area. However, in virtually all instances where the concept has attracted attention in other parts of the country, it is seen as establishing a physical Smithsonian presence and providing a vehicle for economic revitalization of a given area through the creation of jobs and stimulation of local tourism. It would seem that the key to any of these approaches must determine the points of intersection between the Institution's programmatic priorities and the needs, as well as the resources, of interested communities. The Acting Under Secretary has been assigned the task of coordinating the process for reaching that determination, and will engage the bureau heads in its formulation. The idea of "bidding" on the site for the proposed extension of the National Air and Space Museum was one of the first instances of widespread local interest in this issue. Denver clearly has been a major player, and its interests must be considered further before progress is possible on the extension. However, representatives of many other places, particularly those on military base-closing lists, have been in touch with political leaders to see how a site selection process, such as that proposed by Denver's proponents, might work for them, not only with respect to the extension, but, as in the case of one site in Arkansas, in transforming the property into a cultural center with the Smithsonian as its focus. Eastern Connecticut, and more particularly the town of Norwich, would like to be part of a regional system of Smithsonian museums. The hope of its supporters is that the Smithsonian would restore and be housed in either of two old mills (one of which is particularly handsome) that they have selected for potential use, and that early Connecticut industrial history would be
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