an blog | AJBlog Central | Contact me

Dandy Danforth: Framingham Approves Win-Win University Partnership to Rescue Museum & Its Collection

I recently denounced as a bad role model for the Berkshire Museum the deplorable disposals by the New-York Historical Society 1995. Those selloffs were recently touted by Felix Salmon in a Berkshire Museum-related article as “relatively responsible deaccessioning.”

Now, here’s some breaking news about a much better role model:

Last night, another financially endangered Massachusetts institution—the Danforth Art Museum\School—got the required go-ahead at a Town Meeting to merge with Framingham State University—a win-win agreement (which I previously discussed here) that should give the museum needed financial support, while safeguarding its collection if the relationship with FSU sours.

Kudos to Danforth director Debra Petke for staying the course to achieve this solution.

Debra Petke

FSU plans to spend some $4.5 million to purchase and renovate the Maynard building in the center of town, creating “a new museum to showcase Danforth’s collection of more than 3,000 pieces of American art,” according to Jim Haddadin‘s report for Wicked Local Framingham. The museum’s reopening in the renovated space is planned for 2019.

The Maynard Building

The Berkshire Museum should learn from this example, seeking a partnership with a more financially viable and administratively robust museum or institution of higher education, rather than selling off the greatest treasures of its art collection to raise quick cash.

There’s still time to reverse course before irrevocably losing the cooperation and respect of sister institutions.

That’s a lose-lose.

an ArtsJournal blog