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ACUMG and AAMD Issue Statements Deploring Rose Museum’s Dissolution UPDATED

David Robertson, President, ACUMG and director, Mary and Leigh Block Museum, Northwestern University

The Association of College and University Museums and Galleries (ACUMG), the leading professional organization for such institutions, has issued this statement lamenting Brandeis University’s plan to close its Rose Art Museum and sell off its collection:

Speaking on behalf of the ACUMG, we are saddened and disappointed to learn
of the decision by Brandeis University to close the Rose Art Museum. This
act is the culmination of a series of attempts to sell works of art from
university and college museums throughout the U.S. over the last few years
for the purpose of compensating for financial difficulties for which the
museums have played no role.

We all recognize that the current financial downturn is serious, but we
object to institutions that have no exigency plan to address downturns in
enrollment or endowment, and simply look for something that is easy to
capitalize to compensate for a lack of serious advanced planning involving
administrators, trustees and faculty.

Brandeis’ action places all university and college museums in jeopardy by
this proposed action. The decades and hard work it took to build their
collection, develop donor relations, and make the museum an integral part of
the education of Brandeis students will simply be ended. Future generations
of students who might select to go to Brandeis will not have the
opportunities offered by the Rose Museum to generations of past and present
students. All of us are diminished by this.

And this just in from the Association of Art Museum Directors:

We are shocked and dismayed by decision of the leadership of Brandeis University, and will be taking up this matter at the meeting of our members this week.

UPDATE—AAMD has just augmented its statement:

AAMD is shocked and dismayed to learn of Brandeis University’s plans to close the Rose Art Museum and sell its collection. This is a sad day for the students of Brandeis, the University, and its community. The Rose Art Museum plays a vital role in bringing modern and contemporary art to the public and increasing understanding of the art of our time.  AAMD’s mid-winter meeting begins tomorrow and its members will discuss the ramifications of Brandeis’ decision and any actions the Association may take in response to these regrettable plans.

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