Regarding your article “Underwater Dive” (1/5), by Annys Shin, I would like to make a few comments: I am the mother of a 22-month-old little girl who loves animals and fish of every kind. We, like many mothers and children, visit the National Zoo and the National Aquarium at least three times a month. When my husband saw the article in the Washington City Paper, he brought it home for us to read. My daughter loved seeing the pictures of the turtle and the gar that we know so well. When I read the article, I could understand the frustration that the workers and other visitors felt. Every time we visit the aquarium, we feel the same way.
Until I read your article, I was unsure what exactly was wrong with the aquarium. I wondered if maybe it was just a small part of the Commerce Department or if there was some other reason that it was so small and in such disrepair. Now that I understand that the dilapidated condition of the infrastructure and the tanks is because of Nina Selin, the chair of the board of the National Aquarium Society, and the members of the board who clearly could not care less about either the current condition or the future of the aquarium. I think that a good idea would be to put the names and pictures of the society’s directors on the wall at the entrance with a sign that says, “We are responsible for this.” Selin and the rest of the board should apologize to the city, admit that they have given up trying to save the aquarium, and step down so that someone who cares about having an aquarium here and who is competent in fundraising could take over and do something positive.
I have been to the Camden, N.J., aquarium many times, and though it is in one of the most run-down and desolate towns anywhere, every tank, exhibit, and room is brought to you by some sort of corporate sponsor. I don’t think that anyone expects Washington to build a larger aquarium. However, I, for one, think that the National Aquarium should not just be allowed to drift away due to neglect.