To the editor:

In the uproar raised by the Berkshire Museum selling off the jewels of its art collection, there has been little discussion of what constitutes demolition of its historic building. It appears the plan is to replace the Crane Room and the theater with a huge vacant atrium. Existing galleries would also be gutted and opened up. This follows the trend of the last several Berkshire Museum renovations in emptying the building of its character and contents and replacing actual displays of objects with groovy curatorial graphics and air.

The Crane Room is a unique and imposing Art Deco gem that serves a number of purposes well. The theater is an intimate and flexible space that suffers only from bad digital projection equipment. Will the theater's charming Calder sculptures be auctioned off too? There is great value in these historic spaces. They are as irreplaceable a part of the museum's endowment as the paintings.

Destroying the past is no way to move the museum into the future.

Carl Sprague,