Monday, July 06, 2009

More Opportunity Cost (A Continuing Series)

Over the weekend came news that the Albright-Knox would now be open only four days a week.

Other cost-cutting measures include (1) eliminating extended hours on Thursday evenings, (2) reducing programming on free Fridays, and (3) reducing the number of major exhibitions. Earlier this year the museum also raised the admission price from $10 to $12.

Of course, to the Deaccession Police, none of this matters. It doesn't make a difference if the museum is open four days a week, or three days a week, or 15 minutes on alternating Tuesdays. The purpose of a museum is to hold onto the works it happens to have -- every last one of them -- so that they are accessible to future generations (even if they are only accessible for those 15 minutes a week). Questions of access, engagement, and so on are not permitted to enter the discussion.

In fact, as this WBFO story reminds us, the museum does have "a separate $67 million endowment dedicated to purchasing new work." (I assume as a result of this.) And, of course, from the AAMD anti-deaccessionist perspective, buying every one of those unspecified future works is more important than any other museum purpose you care to name, including keeping the doors open for people to see the work.