The Reaction from Professional Organizations

2017 – 2018

American Alliance of Museums (AAM)

Statement on The Berkshire Museum Proposal to Deaccession Works of Art for Its Endowment, Operations, and to Fund Capital Investments

American Alliance of Museums, Press Release / July 25, 2017
The American Alliance of Museums (AAM), an organization representing the entire scope of the museum community, and the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), an organization representing 243 directors of North America’s leading art museums,are deeply opposed to the Berkshire Museum’s plans to sell works from its collection to provide funds for its endowment, to make capital investments, and to pay for daily operations.

Statement in response to the November 10 action by Massachusetts Appeals Court to delay the proposed sale of artworks by the Berkshire Museum

American Alliance of Museums, Press Release / November 11, 2017
The American Alliance of Museums and the Association of Art Museum Directors are grateful that the Massachusetts Court of Appeals has determined to enjoin the proposed sale by the Berkshire Museum of iconic artworks from its collection.

Don’t Raid the Cookie Jar: Creating Early Interventions to Prevent Deaccessioning Crises

American Alliance of Museums, Research and Reports / February 2, 2018
The American Alliance of Museums and the Association of Art Museum Directors are grateful that the Massachusetts Court of Appeals has determined to enjoin the proposed sale by the Berkshire Museum of iconic artworks from its collection.

Statement on Supreme Judicial Court Ruling in Berkshire Museum Case

American Alliance of Museums, Press Release / April 5, 2018
The American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the only organization representing the entire scope of the museum community, believes firmly that the sale of works from a museum’s collections to fund non-collection-related expenses is a violation of the public trust—and is not a path to financial sustainability.

Statement in response to the decision by Berkshire Superior Court Judge John A. Agostini regarding the proposed deaccessioning by the Berkshire Museum

American Alliance of Museums, Press Release / November 7, 2017
The American Alliance of Museums and the Association of Art Museum Directors are disappointed at the Court’s unwillingness to halt the proposed sale of works from the Berkshire Museum’s collection.

Statement on December 15 Rally by Save the Art – Save the Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts

American Alliance of Museums, Press Release / December 15, 2017
The American Alliance of Museums (AAM), an organization representing the entire scope of the museum community, and the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), an organization representing 243 directors of North America’s leading art museums, issued the following statement in response to the December 15 Cambridge rally by Save the Art – Save the Museum:

Statement on Negotiated Agreement in Berkshire Museum Case

American Alliance of Museums, Press Release / February 9, 2018
The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and The Association of Art Museum (AAMD) believe firmly that the sale of works from collections to fund non-collection-related expenses is a violation of the public trust, and is not the path to financial sustainability for museums.

Museums and their Observers Debate the Field’s Deaccessioning Ethics

American Alliance of Museums, Ethics / August 7, 2018
Recent sales of art by institutions like the Berkshire Museum and Baltimore Museum of Art have reignited the debate about when and how museums deaccession collections and to what purposes they can apply the funds generated from sales.

Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD)

Statement on the Berkshire Museum Proposal to Deaccession Works of Art for its Endowment, Operations, and to Fund Capital Investments

Press Releases & Statements / July 25, 2017
The American Alliance of Museums (AAM), an organization representing the entire scope of the museum community, and the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), an organization representing 243 directors of North America’s leading art museums, are deeply opposed to the Berkshire Museum’s plans to sell works from its collection to provide funds for its endowment, to make capital investments, and to pay for daily operations.

Statement in response to the November 10 action by Massachusetts Appeals Court to delay the proposed sale of artworks by the Berkshire Museum

Press Room for immediate Release / November 11, 2017
The American Alliance of Museums and the Association of Art Museum Directors are grateful that the Massachusetts Court of Appeals has determined to enjoin the proposed sale by the Berkshire Museum of iconic artworks from its collection.

Statement on Negotiated Agreement in Berkshire Museum Case

Press Room for immediate Release / New York, NY / February 9, 2018
The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and The Association of Art Museum (AAMD) believe firmly that the sale of works from collections to fund non-collection-related expenses is a violation of the public trust, and is not the path to financial sustainability for museums.

AAMD Statement on Sanction of Berkshire Museum and La Salle University Art Museum

Press Room for immediate Release / New York, NY / May 25, 2018
The Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) announced today that its Board of Trustees has voted to impose sanctions on the Berkshire Museum and the La Salle University Art Museum.

Joint Statement on Berkshire Superior Court Decision Regarding Berkshire Museum Deaccessioning

Press Room for immediate Release / November 7, 2017
In response to the decision of November 7, 2017 by Berkshire Superior Court Judge John A. Agostini, regarding the proposed deaccessioning by the Berkshire Museum, the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) and American Alliance of Museums (AAM) released the following statement:

Statement on December 15 Rally by Save the Art / Save the Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Press Room for immediate Release / New York, NY / December 15, 2017
The American Alliance of Museums (AAM), an organization representing the entire scope of the museum community, and the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), an organization representing 243 directors of North America’s leading art museums, issued the following statement in response to the Cambridge rally by Save the Art / Save the Museum:

Statement on Court Approval of Berkshire Museum Settlement

Press Room for immediate Release / New York, NY / April 5, 2018
The Association of Art Museum (AAMD) believes firmly that the sale of works from a museum’s collections to fund non-collection-related expenses is a violation of the public trust—and is not a path to financial sustainability. Yet this is exactly the misguided approach being pursued by the leadership of the Berkshire Museum.

Laurie Norton Moffatt: Inviting a pause on sales of art

By Laurie Norton Moffatt, The Berkshire Eagle / July 20, 2017
When I was young, I regularly roamed the halls of the Berkshire Museum. I learned about vast oceans and fields through collections of shells and minerals, birds and predators.

Museum Associations Opposed to Berkshire Museum Plan to Sell Artworks

Philanthropy News Digest / August 2, 2017
The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, recently announced a plan — two years in the making — to reinvent itself, with a focus on science and history. The plan also calls for a $60 million campaign that includes $20 million for facility renovations and $40 million to bolster its endowment.

A Statement from NEMA on the Situation at the Berkshire Museum Regarding Professional Standards

Approved by the Board of Directors / August 18, 2017
The recent actions of the Berkshire Museum, and the reaction to them, demonstrate that there is a wide range of opinion in the museum field when it comes to the applicability of professional standards, especially those concerning deaccessioning.

FeigenbaumFoundation Pledges $2.5 Million To Berkshire Museum

BusinessWest.com / July 24, 2017
The Feigenbaum Foundation is providing $2.5 million in support of the Berkshire Museum’s New Vision campaign, the largest single gift to the museum since its founding in 1903.

Deaccessioning and Capitalization of Collections

By Darah Fogarty, American Association for state and local history (AASLH) / August 10, 2017
In late July, news broke in The New York Times, Boston Globe, and National Public Radio about the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, deciding to deaccession forty works of art, thrusting the topic of museum collection policies, funding, and public trust once again into the national spotlight.

Mass Cultural Council statement on the Berkshire Museum

Press Room for immediate Release / September 20, 2017
The Mass Cultural Council is proud to be a longtime supporter of the Berkshire Museum through investments in its opperations, facilities, public education and accessibility initiatives.

ABOUT

SAVE THE ART (STA)
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.

MISSION

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.

PRESS

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.