Letter: Community must demand end to museum art sale
To the editor:
The people of every city and town in Berkshire County should be outraged that the trustees of the Berkshire Museum are selling artworks meant to be held in trust for them.
The very valuable art being sold by the trustees, including the two Norman Rockwell paintings given by the artist himself, were meant for the benefit of every citizen in Berkshire County.
Yet the trustees did not call a single public meeting before deciding to auction off 40 of the most beloved treasures in the museum.
The sale of tens of millions of dollars worth of art from the collection will decimate the value of the museum forever. This situation is serious and should alarm every Berkshire County citizen.
The real financial asset of Berkshire Museum is its art collection given by many Berkshire County families over more than a century. The building has very little relative value.
Trustees and museum directors come and go. Many of the trustees serving on the museum's current board were not born in the Berkshires. They may not know how important the art is to those who were. Therefore, it is up to the citizens to let them know how much the art means to them and to their children.
Selling the fine art collection is selling the heart and soul of the museum. It is selling the wonderful gifts from Norman Rockwell to the Berkshire community he loved so much. It is selling the history of many Berkshire County families!
Instead of selling the art, the trustees must be required to carry out traditional forms of fund-raising. If they are in need of more support, they should let the public know and ask for help. They should not be allowed to sell the most valuable parts of the museum's collection which they were actually meant to care for!
The people must demand an end to the sale of the art before it is too late.
The writer was born and grew up in Pittsfield.
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