Letter: Museum victory a sad lesson in ethics

To the editor:

The decision of the Massachusetts attorney general gave trustees of the Berkshire Museum a sad and ironic victory over ethics and public trust. Now, fistfuls of money in hand, these trustees must prove their case to their community. We will learn whether their New Vision, whatever it is, for the museum is both appropriate and enduring (like the works of art they are to sell).

It is probable that the approved sale will be the first of many, as the Berkshire Museum's director uses its remaining art collection to fund his dream of a museum tilted toward new technologies. Unlike the eternal value of art, these gizmos will constantly need expensive updates to keep them fashionable and relevant.

And what lessons of ethics will the museum teach its visitors (many of which are promised to be children) as it chases its improbable but well-funded future?

Roger Mandle,

South Dartmouth

The author is the former president of the Rhode Island School of Design and former deputy director and chief curator of the National Gallery of Art.


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