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As Sales Continue, Berkshire Museum Eyes Future

A stone building is lit up by lights under an indigo night sky.
Berkshire Museum
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Two more artworks from the Berkshire Museum’s collection went up for auction Wednesday. WAMC’s Josh Landes has more.

A Chinese vase and an 8- foot tall screen of similar origin from the 18th and 17th century, respectively, went to auction at Sotheby’s in Manhattan. They’re two of the nine pieces the museum announced it would be selling in June as part of a controversial state-approved deaccession plan.

A spokesperson tells WAMC that at its next meeting, the museum’s board will be discussing the hiring of two consultants. One will help the institution invest the $55 million it’s been allowed to raise from art sales, and one will serve as business manager in moving forward with its plans to pivot into an experiential multidisciplinary learning environment from a traditional museum model. The spokesperson says the board is getting ready to hire a search committee to replace interim director Dr. David Ellis, who took over for Van Shields back in late June. The architect of the museum’s transformation, Shields resigned just under a year after announcing the plan, which was dogged by protest, legal injunctions, and challenges from other institutions.

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.
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