Letter: Museum must teach culture and history
To the editor:
I agree with Charles Giuliano's July 19 letter on the Berkshire Museum's role in fine arts, although I dispute the accuracy of a couple of his statements.
As the museum's curator of education from 1980-91, I curated many educational exhibitions and programs about American and Berkshire County history through the arts. Strong educational programs were developed around these exhibitions which were educational for students as well as adults.
In 1982 I curated an exhibition on Currier and Ives titled "Looking Back: 19th Century America as seen through the prints of Currier and Ives" In 1987 I curated "Berkshire County: Its Art and Culture, 1740-1800," and in 1990 came "A Return to Arcadia: Berkshire County Landscapes.".
These exhibitions were all researched, developed and presented at the Berkshire Museum. The 1990 exhibition on "A Return to Arcadia" also traveled to the Great Britain Museum in Connecticut. There were also catalogues, educational programs and adult lectures and research developed around this exhibition.
Art and architecture embody the culture, history, politics and spirituality of the time in which they were created. I do hope that much of the American collection of art is presented in this new mission.
In reference to Mr. Giuliano's letter, Debra Balken was curator under Gary Burger. She was dismissed by Director Barry Dressel the night that my 1990 exhibition opened.
I loved teaching about the culture and history of the Berkshires. Most humans do learn from the visual.
Maureen Johnson Hickey,
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