Berkshire Museum via Wikimedia
CAIRO - 1 August 2017: Controversy has erupted over the Berkshire Museum's announcement that they would sell off 40 valuable paintings, including two by artist Normal Rockwell, as part of the Museum's $60 million plan to renovate the museum.
The museum, located in Pittsfeld, has been mobbed by critics who feel they are selling out and forsaking integrity for the sake of money, taking away priceless art from the community it belongs to. As the Washington Post reports, there is now a Facebook group titled “Save the art at the Berkshire Museum of Natural History and Art," which was started by Leslie Ferrin who runs a company representing artists.
“Selling gifts is against every moral and ethical standard of running a museum," the Washington Post quoted Ferrin, who added that since the pieces will be sold off to private owners, they would be forever lost to the public.
On the Museum's end, The Berkshire Eagle reported that the selling of the paintings is essential to stabilizing the future of the museum, with the $40 million dollars going towards an endowment while $20 million will go to renovations, which will transform the museum into a more interactive place of learning.
As Van Shields, executive director of the museum told the Washington Post that “We are facing an existential threat. We needed to adapt, migrate or go extinct.”