To the editor:

I visited the Berkshire Museum on a free Friday. I kind of expected a lot of children, but never imagined the chaos and broken sound barriers I was to encounter there. The whooped-up youngsters spoke more to an amusement park atmosphere than the calm amazement and centering capacities of an orderly museum. I saw that the museum has already sold out on any social contract to lure youngsters to a quieter, more thoughtful and heartfelt response to the natural world, culture, and the story of civilization. Here and there, a calm child.

I love animals and the aquarium already looks sad and needy. A mother was changing a baby diaper in the middle of this wildly raucous situation, and my friend alerted me to not step forward and walk on the child's head. Who was there to monitor this situation? I am told the guards are not responsible for the children. The parents are.

The Crane room was sad indeed, and the rest of the artwork looked thrown together. What I felt was that this museum is already abandoned by its leaders in the rush forward to copy other interactive museums. Which now, by the way, are not the shiny objects they once hoped for.

What made this beautiful building a landmark and community treasure is being grandly trashed. And that mentality is why 40 pieces of the Berkshires' art is being sold out to the highest bidder. It is heart wrenching. And it could be stopped.

Florence Mason

Stephentown, N.Y.