Letter: Museum Rockwell loved is sacrificing its future
I was a member of that first board that transformed the Corner House in Stockbridge into a center for exhibitions and activities of interest to the community. The others were Rosamond Sherwood, Patricia Deely, Norma Ogden and Molly Rockwell, who together had purchased the building to save it from demolition.
I distinctly recall Molly Rockwell saying that Norman was thinking of eventually having his pictures go to the Berkshire Museum, but that for now he was looking for a place to hang some of them. The rest is history: Norman sent over the Four Freedoms and a few other important pictures, and we hung them in the two front rooms.
Word reached the wider world after Jane Fitzpatrick joined the board, and as the presence of those paintings in Stockbridge became known, more and more people came to see them. In no time the Corner House turned into a museum of Norman Rockwell, which quickly outgrew its location. It became clear that a much larger and more accessible place was required, and eventually the present museum was built.
However, if the Corner House had never existed, Norman Rockwell's paintings might have gone to the Berkshire Museum, so high was his esteem for the museum and its director, Stuart Henry. As it is, given that Rockwell is such a huge attraction to people all over America and the world, wouldn't the Berkshire Museum have been wise to advertise its holdings in order to attract some of the public that flocks to Stockbridge to see his work? Instead, if this sale goes through, the museum will have sacrificed its patrimony and abandoned its historical role as a museum of art and science in a risky attempt to reinvent itself.
Alice Sedgwick Wohl,
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