To the editor:

As the Dec. 11 deadline approaches for a decision on the short-term fate of the Berkshire Museum's important collection holdings, it is not too early to be planning for an ultimate end game, whether the works are sold or not. I believe that it is incumbent on the museum's leadership and those who have opposed the sale to think through where that institution and this community will go once the legalities are determined. If the events of the last few months are left unaddressed, the museum that we all value will be far the worse.

On the world stage, community rifts have been mended through a "truth and reconciliation" process and the efforts of a dispassionate mediator. Determining who convenes and who sits at the table is the key first step in the process. If the respective stances are that the museum board won't meet, and the critics require an immediate dismantlement of the board, the process won't go anywhere or, worse, might generate another round of litigation.

Re-establishing a credible process, providing space to stand down entrenched positions, and enabling all museum advocates to find a home at the museum will be a huge service to the community. Just as we hope that our national leadership might develop the gravitas needed to negotiate, we should expect no less of ourselves. In fact, I have more confidence in the Berkshires — but that's a letter for another day.

Philip Sedgwick Deely,