Letter: Sale will tarnish history, reputation of museum
My family is heartbroken about the planned art sale and destruction of the interior of the museum. As one of my sisters said, "It's part of our history! Of course we're upset!"
It is a part of the entire community's history and many people are upset. It is also upsetting to those who love art and art museums. But those who run the museum say they aren't an art museum. I think the founders would be shocked to hear that. The art collection was the actual catalyst for building the museum!
Those who gave Pittsfield the Athenaeum and the museum took great care in building and gifting those to the citizenry. When the area of the Athenaeum which held the art was filled to capacity, Zenas Crane set out to design and build a building to house the collection. From the financing, planning, construction, and supporting of it, no detail was too small for the donors' attention. Mr. Crane must have been so full of pride to give something of such true value to the community.
The sale of the Norman Rockwell paintings is especially heart-wrenching to many in the community. But the sale of the other art is very sad as well since many of the pieces being sold have been a part of the museum from its beginning and were likely given with much love by their donors.
Experts in the museum world say that selling art to pay bills is unethical. It makes sense that such behavior would be considered unethical since such a policy would discourage donors from giving in the future. This unethical policy of liquidating the art collection will tarnish the wonderful history and reputation of this beloved museum.
Linda Sayers Lykkebak,
The writer grew up in Pittsfield.
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