To the editor:

To seriously propose that the Berkshire Museum sell the Calder Circus, as well as magnificent paintings by Frederic Church, Albert Bierstadt and Norman Rockwell so a museum renovation can be effected is unbelievable.

People come to the museum to see such exceptional art, but they will not come if you sell the art. If the Berkshire Museum has trouble getting people through the door then the administration should work harder at seeking out private and corporate donors and find new marketing strategies, but to sell the phenomenal art is to sell the heart of the museum.

Van Shields must realize that the contents of the Berkshire Museum are our heritage. The art is part of our collective childhoods, and is a source of pride to our Berkshire community. To have paintings by Bierstadt, Frederic Church, Peale, Thomas Dewing and Norman Rockwell in our local museum is stupendous. For Mr. Shields and the board to deprive the community of this art is unethical. These irreplaceable pieces should not be sold out of the public domain. Art of this caliber may be sold to wealthy, private collectors and will never be seen by the public again.

Pittsfield has torn down too many beautiful buildings and only later realized the shortsighted nature of those decisions. Think of the railway station. Selling our wonderful paintings seems like one of those moments. Let's keep our heritage and our art. Mr. Shields and the Board of Trustees must reconsider.

Meredith G. Cochran,