Arne Duncan: Loss Of Lucas Museum Is ‘Tragic’ | WBEZ
Skip to main content


Arne Duncan: Loss Of Lucas Museum Is ‘Tragic’

Star Wars creator George Lucas says the home of the The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will not be in Chicago. In a statement, Lucas says he’ll build the museum in California instead.

He blames the advocacy group, Friends of the Parks, which had filed a lawsuit to prevent construction of the museum on the Lakefront.

Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is on the board of the Lucas Museum and spoke to us about the decision.

On whether the decision is final
Tragically, this is 100% done. It is not going to happen in Chicago. And another city, likely an LA or San Francisco, is going to jump at the opportunity that we just gave away.

On who will feel the brunt of the loss
We just have so many kids in this city now who need hope and inspiration. We have so many adults who need jobs. We have a city that needs tax revenue … the fact that we let all that go to preserve-- not greenspace, not the lakefront-- but to preserve a parking lot is just unfathomable to me. I’ve played basketball out there in the parking lot, it’s a nice parking lot, but it’s not changing any kid’s life. 

On what the Lucas Museum could have been for the city
There’s a reason why we have so much violence now in Chicago. We have a lot of kids who don’t have any hope. The Lucas Museum wasn’t going to begin to solve all this by itself, but we need ten Lucas Museums, we need other folks stepping up. And the fact that we just turned our back on this one, it makes no sense to me whatsoever, it’s just absolutely tragic.

On why the decision was made
Ultimately it just was too hard, it was too difficult. Too many impediments, too many barriers, too much legalese and just not a focus on kids. It was untenable. 

On how Mellody Hobson (George Lucas’ wife) is feeling
This has been devastating. She’s a girl who grew up right here in Chicago, who did not grow up easy or wealthy or affluent and she comes from where a lot of these kids come from. And the fact that she wanted so badly to help and to give back and was denied that opportunity… it’s very tough.

Get the WBEZ App

Download the best live and on-demand public radio experience. Find out more.