Can a Museum Sell Your Art?: The Berkshire Museum Saga As a Cautionary Tale

Your hosts, Steve Schindler & Katie Wilson-Milne

New York City, February 12, 2018

In our first full-length episode, we discuss the Berkshire Museum’s controversial decision to sell off 40 works of iconic art from its permanent collection to raise funds to rebrand itself as a science and natural history museum, and build a large endowment.  Only after the regional museum had signed an agreement with Sotheby’s auction house to deaccession these works, did the museum announce its plans to the public.  Museum and cultural groups, the fine arts community, and certain local constituents have passionately opposed these plans.  Other stakeholders and commentators have strongly supported the museum’s efforts to monetize its collection and rebrand.  We will discuss both the ethical and legal issues around deaccessioning and the Berkshire Museum’s actions in particular.  We are joined by the financial and art-market journalist, Felix Salmon.


A grassroots citizens group established in 2017 with the intent of stopping the sale of the Berkshire Museum’s treasured art collection in order to find an alternate solution to its continued financial shortfall.


The mission of Save the Art is to advocate for and protect the Public Trust — the art and objects belonging to all of us that document humankind’s creative and social history through time.


We thank the Berkshire Eagle for their extensive investigative coverage, the journalists, op-ed writers and our community for their hundreds of letters of concern and applaud Larry Parnass / Investigations Editor for his 2018 Outstanding Journalism award. See The Berkshire Eagle page located in Press menu.