Letter: The museum's vision is in need of re-vision
There has been of late much discourse regarding the vision of the Berkshire Museum trustees and Van Shields. To have vision is laudable. Not so laudable, however, is the conscious decision of Mr. Shields and museum leadership to fund this vision by selling off our inheritance and presenting the plan to the public as a fait accompli.
While we were not surprised to read letters to the editor by Rep. Farley-Bouvier and former Mayor Ruberto in support of Mr. Shield's vision, we were disappointed that neither letter addressed either the cost of bringing the project to fruition or the right of the people to have a voice in the issue. Ms. Farley-Bouvier, who stands on the side of museum management, has called for civil debate while, on the other hand, museum management wants no debate at all.
As Linda Kaye-Moses so rightfully points out in her excellent op/ed (Eagle, Sept. 30), if sold these works will disappear from public access forever and join losses like the classic architecture of Union Station and similar "visions" in "a canyon lined with regret," for it is unlikely that they will be purchased by any reputable museum in the wake of such controversy.
We, the citizens of Berkshire County, have been denied the right to register an opinion on the sale of these precious works of art, as if we were unlanded serfs in some banana republic. As Timothy Cahill's thoughtful op-ed (Eagle, Oct 1) pointed out, "an alternate vision would save the museum from failing its highest calling as the keeper of Berkshire cultural memory." Regretfully, museum leadership apparently believes that success of their vision trumps its highest calling and the rights of the people.
Referring to the treachery and undue influence of officials and politicians in late-1st century Rome, the political satirist Juvenal asked: "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" Literally, "Who will guard the guardians?" If, as Ms. Kaye-Moses so rightfully reasons, the museum has "violated its responsibility to maintain the museum and its art for the public," we, the people, cannot remain silent.
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