JOIN US—it’s not over! Our effort to SAVE THE ART at the Berkshire Museum continues...

Petition Closed

JOIN US—it’s not over! Our effort to SAVE THE ART at the Berkshire Museum continues...

This petition had 2,267 supporters
Petition to
Berkshire Museum and

Why this petition matters


SAVE THE ART (STA) suspended fundraising when the Attorney General stepped in to pause the sale and investigate. STA endorsed that process, but not the outcome: the proposed settlement allows for the sale of Rockwell’s “Shuffleton’s Barbershop” to a public, but unnamed institution for an undisclosed amount, and permits the unrestricted sale of the 39 other works art given to the people of Berkshire County. These 40 works represent 85% of the value of the museum’s auctionable assets.

The proposed agreement between the Attorney General and the museum has already been submitted to the Supreme Judicial Court. There are at least two amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs being filed in response. The purpose of the amicus curiae briefs is to inform the judge that the compromise fails to protect the cultural legacy of the Berkshires, and by extension, all museum collections, among other issues. Your signature make a statement that the public trust must be upheld. Information about hearing dates, legal filings and decisions will be kept current on our website and Facebook. You can also support us through donations to gofundme, follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

Where does the gofundme money go? SAVE THE ART deposits its funds into the organization’s account and directs its co-treasurers to disburse them in accordance with our stated purposes: legal action to save the art and public outreach. The group’s principles honor the public trust which has accumulated this collection started by Zenas Crane over a century ago.

Separate from the preparation of the amicus briefs, there is an active appeal awaiting a hearing date that asserts the right of museum members to protest the sale of this art. 

Our public outreach continues. STA appreciates your help with sharing this petition with friends and family.

 The Berkshire Museum, a museum devoted to art, history, and science in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, intends to sell 40 works of art to fund an endowment for operations and a building renovation. These works of art represent the very best in the Berkshire Museum's collection. In addition to two paintings by Norman Rockwell, which were donated to the Berkshire Museum by Rockwell himself for the enjoyment of the community, past, present and future (the sale of which the descendants of Mr. Rockwell have objected to publicly), the Museum plans to sell artworks by major American artists including Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Edwin Church, Rembrandt Peale, and Alexander Calder as  well as popular paintings by William-Adolphe Bouguereau and examples of Old Master, Impressionist, Japanese, and Chinese art. Many of these artists are not otherwise available to the people of Berkshire County.

We believe that the these works are part of the irreplaceable cultural legacy of Pittsfield and Berkshire County. We support the Museum's future viability. We ask the board to reconsider their decision. We believe that saving the art and ensuring the museum's success are fully compatible goals. We offer to engage the expertise and imagination of the arts community to fashion a different solution to the museum's issues.

We assert that:

  • Art and artifacts held by museums are held in trust for the community and are not disposable financial assets. To sell collection to fund building and other operations violates the professional standards of museums--indeed it undermines the very purpose of museums.
  • This sale will not "save" the museum financially. It is at best a temporary fix, and at worst an action that will only damage the museum's ability to sustain itself in the future by having a chilling effect on future donations and attendance.
  • We are committed to helping the Berkshire Museum remain an open and vibrant resource for the people of Pittsfield

Stop the sale of the art at The Berkshire Museum and ensure that future generations of local children and adults will have the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by these treasures.

Petition Closed

This petition had 2,267 supporters

Share this petition