Letter: Child of Pittsfield backs museum plan
I am a Pittsfield 17-year-old who has been to the Berkshire Museum countless times. I've practically been a member since I was born. I've attended Wally the Dinosaur's birthday, played in the Native American wigwam, ogled at the poison dart frogs, and gotten excited for the annual Festival of Trees. I've attended movie camps, performed on the stage, and participated in the science fair. The museum has played an important part in my cultural upbringing.
Growing up in the Berkshires means that children have plenty of opportunities to visit art museums. The Norman Rockwell Museum, The Clark, and Mass MoCA are the best bet for art, contemporary and historical. The Berkshire Museum is the only museum with natural history, science, and an aquarium in addition to art in the county.
Revitalizing downtown Pittsfield has been on the city's agenda for years. The Berkshire Museum is a key component in this mission. Children and adults alike need an outlet for their creative minds, and this is the best place people can go to learn more about their environment, and get elbow-deep in innovative projects. Families come here because of the programs and the exhibits that no neighboring museums have. This is the closest place local families and tourists alike can come for a couple of hours and know they will leave having learned something, with smiles on their faces.
The Berkshire Museum is taking a risk selling 40 of its most valuable paintings. However, this risk is calculated. The art will have a new home with people who will showcase it and have the means to support it. Meanwhile, the museum has an exciting new vision. The families of Berkshire County will continue to benefit from the educational exhibits and programs the museum provides, and if they want to see even more art, they can visit any other museum a car ride away.
Think of it this way: Would you rather the Berkshire Museum sell this art and be in a financially stable place to better its programs, or do you want it to close down with the art inside, and have yet another vacant building on South Street?
To me, the choice is clear. I fully support the Berkshire Museum because I am a direct product of its programming. And if a 17-year-old can see that this is the best choice, why can't you?
The writer is a student at Miss Hall's School.
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