To the editor:
A lot has been written lately about the changes going on at the Berkshire Museum. Alan Chartock's recent column sided with the "keep the artwork" opinion, but I think Alan and others are being a bit short-sighted.
We are surrounded by some of the finest art museums in the country: the Rockwell, the Clark, and Mass MoCA. The Berkshire Museum will never be a fine art museum. Years ago the museum realized this and started to venture into other areas such as science and natural history. It has continued to develop these areas so that when I go there frequently with my four-year-old granddaughter, we mostly see families with children of all ages enjoying the many hands-on activities. Alan mentioned "selling our children" when referring to the artwork, but let's be frank — these artworks are not our children. By selling these works this museum will be better able serve our "real" children and help them explore the areas of science and history.
I have firsthand knowledge about how the museum is developing its science, history and education areas. I am the site coordinator for an after-school and summer program called Project Connection at the Berkshire Hills Regional School District. Four years ago we asked the Berkshire Museum if it would join us as a partner in providing after-school programing for our students. We started by offering one program and now offer four programs each session during the school year along with several during our summer camp. These are all hands-on, science-based activities. They range from a "Kitchen Kaboom" program using household products to create science experiments, to forensics, robotics, coding, animation and many more. I know it offers similar programs in other school districts in Berkshire County. This is what the new Berkshire Museum wants to be. It wants to be a destination point for science and natural history while providing educational opportunities throughout the Berkshires for our children.
I think we can all agree that many of Rockwell's paintings were about embracing change in our society and I am confident that the people will welcome the museum's changes once they totally understand what this will bring to our children and community.