To the editor:

The Berkshire Museum has intentionally put the community in a manufactured crisis mode. The sense of urgency and alarm over the sale of the museum's signature art has been fabricated to sidestep objections to the sale of the art and plans for the proceeds. The museum has displayed a gambler's "go big or go home" bravado in the presentation of its plan and the means of implementing it without regard for the legitimate concerns raised by those who will be affected by it.

To win public support for its art heist, museum trustees have made much of what its plan will provide for the children of Pittsfield. In their name, the cultural heritage of their hometown is being torn apart and its artifacts sold like grandma's knickknacks on eBay. Great works of art will no longer be there for them to enjoy with their own children. The responsibility for sustaining the museum will fall on their shoulders as traditional donors and sponsors are alienated.

This is not about the children. This is about money. This is about a board of trustees comprised of a group of financiers who have found a way to infuse cash into their coffers. They don't care if the sketchy vision works. They will be long gone from the scene. Politicians are all too happy to support an influx of cash into the community that they can take credit for while doing their own two-step to look the other way while someone else violates the ethics of their profession.

Pittsfield deserves better. Teach the children by example what it means to have respect for one's community, heritage and the future. The trustees' names will be forever associated with the choice made at this juncture in the museum's history. If they truly have the museum and community at heart, they will stop the sale and save the museum. There is plenty of time to do both — and, in so doing, to win national support rather than disgust.

Linda Cleary,


The writer grew up in Pittsfield.