AAM Statement on the Closure of the Rose Museum at Brandeis University
The American Association of Museums is alarmed and dismayed at the decision by Brandeis University to close the Rose Museum and sell the objects from its collection. Such a drastic action would be an irreparable loss to the university and its community. Present and future generations of students and the public would be deprived of a priceless educational experience.
Museums hold collections in the public trust. These collections are a part of our common heritage and belong, in a moral sense, to all of us. It is the museumís job to preserve them for future generations.
By selling its art collection for cash to the highest bidder to erase a temporary deficit, Brandeis University is in fundamental violation of the public trust responsibilities it accepted the day it founded the Rose Museum. Such a sale is also a betrayal of the donors, who generously gave art for the benefit of the students and the public, not for paying bills. This is a direct violation of the AAM Code of Ethics for museums.
If it cannot afford to maintain and exhibit its collection, we urge Brandeis University to seek another steward of it. There are many fine museums in the region capable of caring for these works, even on a temporary basis, while the university explores other options. In choosing an alternate solution to the sale and irrevocable loss of the collection that was entrusted to its care, the university would serve as a role model for its students, faculty and community.
Ford W. Bell
American Association of Museums