Friday, April 02, 2021

"Anne provided a needed corrective to the recent declarations by some commentators that museum trustees should be condemned for not entirely defraying museums’ outsized budgetary shortfalls from their own pockets."

Lee Rosenbaum has a round-up of some comments from the "old school" side of the aisle at the recent Syracuse Deaccessioning symposium, including more from Anne Pasternak (who Lee says "pragmatically acknowledged the merits of both sides of the deaccession dialectic, and gamely tried to steer between them") in response to the "it's on their fat asses" wing of the Deaccession Police:

"Can I just stand up for boards? It’s really made me crazy how people are just, like: 'All these museums have billionaires on their board and they really should be paying for everything.'

"I find that so perplexing at best. First of all, very few institutions have bunches of billionaires on the boards. I happen to be blessed with a very generous board of directors whose giving keeps increasing. But we can’t expect a public institution that was founded over 200 years ago to be solely funded by a handful of privileged people. I find it so bizarre that that’s even a conversation out there.

"I think it’s time to get real about boards. They’re under such scrutiny that you have to be courageous to be on a museum board these days. So I think we need to have a real conversation about what it means to run these institutions and the roles of boards who, in many of our cases, are already being extraordinarily responsible and generous, and not just look to a handful of people to solve all of our problems."