Letter: Aside from selling art, what is the plan?

Posted
To the editor:

Of interest to everyone on either side of this the museum issue is the long article published online in The New Yorker on Thursday, Oct. 5: "The Lost Masterpieces of Norman Rockwell Country." The author describes many of the art masterpieces that will be on the auction block, and gives details how the inside of the current museum will be ripped out in favor of something the museum's executive director, Van Shields, likens to "Harry Potter."

Elsewhere, Mr. Shields has said that he expects architectural "schematic designs" will be delivered by the end of this year, and he thinks "something will start happening in 2018." He claims that the "experience side" of the new museum will be dictated by what the architects dream up. Clearly, he doesn't know what his "New Vision" will actually look like, and neither does anyone else!

In other words, the museum's art treasures, which will be worth just as much in a few years, instead will be turned next month into financial assets when that money might not be needed long into the future. The museum could leave the art in Pittsfield, for all to see, until it figures out what it plans to do. We can't really know the state of the museum's finances because the PR representative recently hired by the museum refused to allow anyone from the museum to talk to The New Yorker and claimed that not all facets of the museum's finances are public.

As The New Yorker states: "There's no good reason for the rush" to sell the museum's art works.

Thoughtful observers can only conclude that the "New Vision" for the Berkshire Museum is a mirage, which many people have been convinced will be better than the current museum, based on the vaguest of promises. No one, including Mr. Shields, knows for sure what will happen, except that he and the board soon will have $60 million in a bank account.

Sally White,

Williamstown

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