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

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For the Media / Press Releases & Statements
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. This follows the decision made by each institution to use the proceeds from recent art sales to support operating budgets or expansion initiatives, a decision that violates one of the core principles of art museums. These actions are in opposition to AAMD’s policy that such funds must be used only to support acquisitions of art.

AAMD has a long-standing policy that restricts the use of funds obtained through deaccessioning to the acquisition of works of art. Selling art to support any need other than to build a museum’s collection fundamentally undermines the critically important relationships between museums, donors and the public. When museums violate the trust of their donors and the public, they diminish the opportunity and responsibility to make great works of art available to the public. This hurts the individual institution and affects the museum field as a whole.

Attorney Quits Posts with New England Group in wake of Berkshire Museum Art Sale Controversy

Mark Gold Quits Group

Larry Parnass, The Berkshire Eagle,
May 2, 2018

PITTSFIELD — The local attorney who coached the Berkshire Museum to sell art has quit posts with a regional group, amid fallout from the controversial move.

Mark S. Gold said he resigned as an officer and director with the New England Museum Association, for which he served as an officer and board member.

The Berkshire Museum’s financials

by Felix Salmon, Cause & Effect
August 21, 2017

I just spent a lovely weekend in the Berkshires, which included (of course) a stop at the Berkshire Museum. My trip coincided with the publication of an open letter from the museum’s president, Buzz McGraw, where she says that while she understands the “shock, sadness and anger” which greeted her decision to sell of the museum’s masterpieces, “the vitriol that some have expressed has been disheartening”.

The letter is a positive development, for two reasons. Firstly, McGraw says that she and the museum’s director, Van Shields, are now willing and able to talk about what they decided to do: I have, of course, put in my own request. And secondly, near the bottom of a related FAQ, the museum links to some updated financials, which help to answer some of the open questions.