Letter: Listen to Zenas, Olivia, on future of museum
At the end of her letter to the editor of Sept. 19, 17-year-old Olivia Kinney states her support of the new vision plan for the Berkshire Museum because it augments the science and natural history programming that has inspired her childhood. Then she asks, "If a 17-year-old can see that this is the best choice, why can't you?"
As a teenager, she is not mired in the past as are so many of the detractors of Van Shields' vision for the Berkshire Museum. Olivia sees the museum scene in the Berkshires as it is now, not as it was when Norman Rockwell was looking for a museum to show his paintings. Back then, the Berkshire Museum was our only place to view Rockwell. Now, Olivia goes to Stockbridge. Back then, the Berkshire Museum was our only place to view Hudson River School art. Now Olivia goes to Williamstown. For modern art she goes to North Adams. Back then, there was no Boston Science Museum. Now there is but she has to go to Boston.
Back when Zenas Crane founded the Berkshire Museum, his goal was to promote an appreciation of art, science, and natural history. Now that the appreciation of art is being so illustriously fulfilled by other local institutions which were not here when the Berkshire Museum was founded, why not now allow it to concentrate on the other two goals originally envisioned by Zenas Crane?
The detractors of Van Shields' plan keep saying that deaccessioning is only permitted to make improvements to the museum's collection. Could it not be said that the museum's collection in the science and natural history sphere need improving?
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