It arrived four days after my initial inquiry, but I finally got an official explanation for why James Hunt, the project manager for the state museum construction, is still on the Division of Culture and History payroll: The museum's not finished.
Spokeswoman Caryn Gresham said Hunt is working on additional enhancements to the museum, as well as overseeing the upgrade of the storage space on items not on display in the museum.
She said Hunt is still looking at augmenting some of the exhibits, and is working on a request for proposals to install additional special effects and animatronics to the museum displays.
(Not animatronic like Lincoln at Disney World; animatronic like the current portraits in the representation of Independence Hall in the state museum that light up and talk if you get too close to them ...)
Whether that justifies the more than $175,000 in salary and travel expenses Hunt has been paid since the museum was opened in June 2009 is open to discussion.
Meanwhile, Wess Harris, labor historian and editor of "When Miners March," said he finds it ironic that the state spent $17.6 million on the state museum, and paid more than a half-million dollars to an out-of-state project manager, but could not find the resources to hire a historian or historians to oversee the project.
(Culture and History lists five state historians as consultants on the museum, but in interviews all but one have described their involvement in the museum planning as ranging from cursory to non-existent.)
Harris, who has taken more than 800 visitors on "truth tours" of the museum, pointing out technical errors and political whitewashing regarding coal exhibits, said he believes the issue will come to a head in July.
That will be the first anniversary of United Mine Workers President Cecil Robert's letter to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, asking for a review of errors and inaccurate portrayals of the state's coal mining history in the museum.
To date, Harris said, only three minor revisions have been made to accompanying text (that those of us over 50 with cataracts can't read in the museum's dim lighting, anyway ...)
Regarding last week's item on the installation of wooden outdoor furniture made in Indonesia on the Capitol complex green space between buildings 5, 6 and 7, Oval Construction manager Jim Carney sent along an email noting, "An uninformed reader may deduce from your column that Oval Construction had or has discretion regarding the selection of the furniture and bollards. We, of course, have zero discretion."