Smithsonian allegedly revised exhibit to show climate “uncertainty”

In 2003, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History was accused of pandering to the Bush administration when a photography exhibit about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was relocated and downplayed. Now former museum administrator Robert Sullivan is charging that last year, the museum toned down an exhibit on climate changes in the Arctic by rewriting official text to inject uncertainty about human causation, omitting scientific interpretation of research, and altering graphs. “The obsession with getting the next allocation and appropriation was so intense that anything that might upset the Congress or the White House was being looked at very carefully,” says Sullivan, who resigned in the fall when officials tried to reassign him. The museum claims that changes were made in the name of objectivity, not politics, but a federal climate scientist who consulted on the exhibit sees it differently: “They’re not stupid. They don’t want to upset the people who pay them.”