- Brian Chilson
- ROCK OUTED: A library find.
- Hope Star
- FOUND: Photo of rock presentation in 1976 by astronaut Dick Truly (right)
Remember the stories about Arkansas’s missing moon rock? It’s been found in the collection of Bill Clinton gubernatorial papers and memorabilia.
UPDATE: Bobby Roberts, director of the Central Arkansas Library System, says the rock will be returned to the state soon. He said it was clearly a gift to the people of Arkansas and he believes it might have gotten mistakenly put with Clinton papers and other items, which are now being processed at the library’s Butler Center, at the end of his first term as governor in 1980. He figures it has been sitting in a box since then. He said he’s been in touch with the Clinton organization and they agree with its return.
In 1976, NASA presented chips of lunar rock as goodwill gestures to the states from the Apollo 17 mission. In recent years, searches have been mounted to find them. Many states have misplaced the rocks, which were encased in clear plastic and mounted on wooden plaques.
This morning, Michael Hodge, who’s archiving materials in the Bill Clinton State Government Project, found the plaque while recording other plaques and memorabilia, said Nathania Sawyer, associate head of special projects for the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, an arm of the Central Arkansas Library System.
“We will catalogue it, note its condition and then it will be part of the collection,” Sawyer told me this morning. But, subsequently, that changed a bit. It won’t be staying around.
According to the account linked at the top, the state received the rock, presented by astronaut Dick Truly, when David Pryor was governor, in 1976. Some think chunks of the moon, even this small, could be worth $5 million though the sales are illegal.
I had thought the plaque might have found its way into Clinton materials during the chaotic period in 1992 when he left the governor’s office to prepare to move to Washington. Bobby Roberts thinks not.