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Arne Duncan Is Bringing His Chicago Clout To The Lucas Museum board

By Mike Ewing in News on May 24, 2016 8:00PM

Arne Duncan and President Barack Obama/Getty Images

With Chicago and San Francisco caught in a tug-of-war for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, former Secretary of Education (and Hyde Park native) Arne Duncan is signing on as the latest member of the museum's board.

Of course, a Friends of the Parks lawsuit is complicating Mayor Rahm Emanuel's efforts to bring the museum to the city. But the addition of someone like Duncan with local ties and his history as the former Chicago Public Schools chief could signal the organization hasn't given up on building here yet. Duncan stepped down as Education Secretary last year and moved back to Chicago.

The board is basically split evenly between members with Chicago and California ties, according to the Tribune. But everything really hinges on what George Lucas himself decides.

San Francisco's latest proposal would build the museum on an island in the San Francisco Bay. That meets Lucas' major criteria of building it near water. Friends of the Parks has said it would only drop its lawsuit if the museum is moved off lakefront land. So unless a judge rules against the group, it would be hard for Chicago to beat San Francisco's bid.

Duncan didn't reveal much in an official statement, saying: "I am delighted to have the opportunity to join the board of this truly exceptional nonprofit museum and to have the opportunity to work with pioneers like George and Mellody."