Museum Curator Desperate For Return Of Stolen Research
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The director and curator of the Fort Douglas Military Museum has been desperate to get back a carrying case that was stolen from his car.
He’s making a plea to the public because most of the materials stolen were research papers about the military history of Utah, and have no value to anyone but him.
“The research is so important,” said Beau Burgess, who has been the curator at the museum for six years.
Burgess has helped craft the stories of the military men and women of Utah for the displays of the museum on the campus of the University of Utah.
“When you’re doing that kind of work, you have a little notebook, you grab the scrap of paper from the front desk, a napkin, whatever is around because that’s when it strikes you,” he said.
All of the paperwork was unique and irreplaceable. He had it packed in a soft shell black case.
Burgess was house-sitting Sunday night in Plain City, west of Ogden, and he left the case in his car during a rain storm. Sometime early Monday, someone smashed into his car and swiped it.
“You figure, it’s just paperwork, nobody’s going to steal those,” said Burgess.
He was wrong.
“My window had been shattered all over the driveway,” he said.
It was when he realized the case was gone that he really panicked.
“My heart sank,” Burgess said. “I got just numb.”
There was no financial loss, or loss of artifacts for the state. However, valuable threads of Utah military history were gone, including the stories behind future exhibits at the museum.
“It’s hours and hours of (my) life,” said Burgess. “Ideas about the stories of who has been here.”
He wasn’t even precisely sure about all of the information he lost because there was so much of it, and the material was not categorized.
“It’s really kind of like this tool box of knowledge,” he said. “It really just erases all of that information, all of that knowledge of what could’ve been.”
He was pretty sure the thief must have thought the case contained a laptop.
“It wasn’t anything of monetary value. It was something I essentially can’t re-create without having that back,” said Burgess.
If anyone knows anything about the case of research papers, Burgess said he just wants it back, anonymously would be fine.
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