The Association of Art Museum Directors has now seconded the American Alliance of Museums’ condemnation of the Delaware Art Museum’s debt-driven deaccession. Like AAM, it falls short of taking punitive action, but makes it clear that if the Delaware museum goes ahead with its plan, it will subject itself to possible censure and/or sanction. (The latter would involve withdrawal of AAMD member museums’ collaborations on exhibitions or scholarship with the Delaware Museum.)
Here’s an excerpt from AAMD’s statement:
Should the Board of Trustees of the Delaware Art Museum carry out the deaccessioning plan on which they voted yesterday, they will have taken a step that, although well-intentioned, will surely have a negative impact on the Museum’s relationship with the community it was founded to serve, as well as with those who believe in the integrity of its collection and the responsibility of the Museum’s trustees to be good stewards of this precious resource.
Accordingly, AAMD will have no recourse but to consider taking the strongest possible response to this action, including the censure and, if necessary, the sanctioning of the Museum.
The AAMD remains hopeful that the Board of Trustees of the Delaware Art Museum will further consider the many problems, reputational as well as operational, that can arise from the decision to deaccession works of art from the Museum’s collection for the purpose of supporting operations.