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Berkshire Museum Collections Committee Member Quits In Protest Of Art Sale Plan

A stone building is lit up by lights under an indigo night sky.
Berkshire Museum

A member of the Berkshire Museum’s Collections Committee has stepped down amid a controversial plan to sell art to fund an expansion and endowment at the Pittsfield, Massachusetts museum. A judge temporarily halted the sale November 10th.

In July, Executive Director Van Shields announced the museum’s New Vision to emphasize science and history. The Berkshire Eagle reports the museum’s Collection Committee was never notified on how exactly the museum planned to raise funds for the project.

Matt Kelly was a member of that Committee for 14 years. He quit last week in protest over the art sale plan.

Berkshire Museum Trustee and Collections Chair Eric Korenman told WAMC in a statement that the unanimous vote in favor of deaccessioning took place July 11th – a date Kelly and four other members were absent. The committee plans to release minutes in the near future.

A Massachusetts Appeals Court stopped the sale on November 10 with a one-month injunction in response to an emergency motion by the state attorney general’s office. Museum members announced Monday their appeal to reinstate their case, which argues the sale breeches the public trust. 

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