Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"Why is preserving every single object ever entrusted to it a higher priority than keeping the museum open?" (UPDATED)

Massachusetts attorney Mark Gold (who also has a master's in museum studies from Harvard) has a piece in the Sept.-Oct. issue of Museum magazine entitled "Nothing Ethical About It." The "it" in question is the "ethical rule adopted by AAM in 1991 [that] limits the use of proceeds from deaccessioning to acquisitions and the direct care of the collection." The piece is not online, but is worth seeking out. An excerpt:

"The role of the museums as stewards of our cultural and historical legacy is undisputed and deserves the great respect it enjoys. But a balancing of priorities is in order -- placing the viability of the museum and its programs on at least an equal footing with the collection. Why not make it ethical for a museum to weigh priorities and make difficult choices without fear of condemnation and ostracism?"

UPDATE: The piece is now online. See here.