Saturday, February 22, 2014

"Bateman said Randolph College’s Maier Museum of Art is not a 'museum' but part of a 'non-profit institution that owns art.'"

"As a result it operates not according to the rules and regulations that govern museums but the fiduciary responsibilities of an institution of higher education, said Bateman."

Bateman is Randolph College's President, and I think he's clearly right.  For those interested in this issue of university-owned artworks -- I mean really interested in grappling with the complexities rather than doing the usual Ohmigod Repulsive routine -- I would start with the law review articles mentioned here and here.

It's also interesting to compare Randolph's approach to that taken by the Brandeis administration during the Rose debacle.  Brandeis started out by conceding too much rhetorical ground to the Deaccession Police.  They thought if we have a "museum," we are bound by their rules.  So they came up with what turned out to be a disastrous plan to "close" the Rose.  But that put them on the defensive right from the start.  Randolph, on the other hand, made the decision to stand up to the deaccession bullies, to refuse to accept their way of framing the debate.  As Bateman says in the article linked above:  "They [the AAMD and the other deaccession bullies] have a single position and they don’t want anyone to think about these issues in any way other than the way they want you to think about it."  I think he just summed up about five years of my blogging on this subject in one sentence.