To the editor:

Over the last eight months, the Berkshire Museum has witnessed a profound reaction, both global and local, to its radical intentions to sell its art masterpieces in order to go it alone as a newly configured institution with a "new vision."

But the question is why, just because they now have a legal green light, is the museum's leadership still bent on this destructive course, instead of eagerly seizing this unprecedented moment of national attention to vigorously fundraise for the capital they claim they need to fulfill their mission?

Bringing back the art would enable the museum to raise money from newly responsive individuals, private foundations, and government funders, where selling the art burns almost all bridges to financial support in the future.

Bringing back the art would restore the reputation of the Berkshire Museum and Pittsfield nationwide. Instead of a black eye, which would take decades to heal, if ever, the museum and Pittsfield could become known for enlightened cultural responsibility.

Bringing back the art would encourage future gifts from major donors, as they would feel secure that their offerings would be protected and maintained for future generations.

Bringing back the art would unite the community. Surely everyone would want the art to stay if a solution were achieved.

Bringing back the art would permit the Berkshire Museum to restore its affiliations with the Smithsonian and other professional organizations, allowing it to share with and borrow from the collections of associated institutions.

Bringing back the art would enable the Berkshire Museum to partner with other regional museums in a true Cultural Corridor, bringing tourism and economic opportunity to Pittsfield.

Bringing back the art and putting these magnificent works on exhibition would result in the biggest art event the Berkshires has ever seen, drawing visitors from across the country.

There is courage and wisdom in changing course in light of altered circumstances. Bringing back the art and creating a sustainable future will require dedication, creativity, and hard work. However, should the leadership of the Berkshire Museum choose this path they will find a whole world willing to help.

Carol Diehl,