Massachusetts AG's Office Is Reviewing Berkshire Museum Plan

Aug 30, 2017

The Massachusetts Attorney General’s office is reviewing the Berkshire Museum’s controversial plan to sell 40 objects from its collection to fund major renovations and create an endowment. 

A spokesperson for the Massachusetts Attorney General told WAMC Wednesday that Maura Healey’s office is “reviewing the transaction for how it comports with applicable charities law.”

Opponents are calling on the Berkshire Museum to pause its plan to put art on the auction block. A loose coalition organized on Facebook has publicly questioned the museum’s finances and leadership. The museum has spent much of the summer disputing the criticism.

A Berkshire Museum spokeswoman told WAMC Monday that more information about the museum’s finances will be posted on its website later this week.

The museum says it stands by its statements about its finances. 

“Although no notice was legally required, the museum advised the Office of the Attorney General of the anticipated deaccessioning and sale on June 22, 2017. The Attorney General’s office does not second guess the decisions of boards of trustees, but it is appropriate for the office to look at how the board discharged its fiduciary duty in making the decision it did,” Mark Gold, legal counsel for Berkshire Museum, says. “The office is also vested with ensuring that the museum is correct that there are no restrictions on the objects to be sold. The museum has sent the Attorney General’s office documentation, as requested, to assist in that process.”