Letter: Unanswered questions about museum's sales
To the editor:
The proposed art sale by the Berkshire Museum has raised some serious questions.
Has the Berkshire Museum held a capital campaign to raise money? If so, who are its chairmen? How much has it raised? Has it offered naming rights to wealthy individuals or companies to sponsor rooms full of art? Was this its first step in trying to keep the art at the museum? Did it ever take any steps to keep the art before deciding to sell it?
What is the museum's future mission? Will it retain the Feigenbaum Exhibit in perpetuity, the first floor nature exhibit, the rented summer exhibits on the second floor, or does it have a specific grand plan for its future? If so, what is it?
Why has this process been made public so swiftly? Today's paper tells us that the artwork has already left Berkshire County. Whatever public and professional opposition to the sale has come too late, and one can't help but surmise that this was part of the museum's plan. Why the speed?
What have been the attendance figures over the past five years? What attendance figures does the museum anticipate after its re-branding? What will it charge for admission? How many people will it employ? How much money per year will its endowment supply for the annual budget? Will the museum be self-sustaining, or will it have to auction off more holdings in the future? What will they be?
These are essential questions that should be answered for your readership and for Berkshire County residents. I look forward to an in-depth report from your news staff just as soon as you can produce one.
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