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With a controversial art auction set for next month, the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield has cut off talks with the Massachusetts Cultural Council.  

Sotheby's

The family of Norman Rockwell reportedly asked the state attorney general’s office last week to stop the sale of two of the artist’s works from the Berkshire Museum’s collection. The Pittsfield, Massachusetts museum plans to sell off 40 objects to fund renovations and an endowment.

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Opponents of the Berkshire Museum’s plan to sell off 40 objects to fund renovations and an endowment fund are planning to make a final push to stop the sale, which includes two Norman Rockwell works. The Sotheby’s auction, set to begin in November, is expected to fetch $68 million. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief JD Allen sat down with Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer to discuss her support of the city’s museum.

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Two trustees have stepped down from the Berkshire Museum board amid a controversial plan to sell art to fund an expansion and endowment at the Pittsfield, Massachusetts museum. 

Image by the architects, ARCADE. Courtesy Berkshire Museum.

The Massachusetts Cultural Council is urging the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield to halt its planned art sale. 

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As controversy has swirled around a Pittsfield museum’s plan to sell parts of its permanent collection to fund a multi-million dollar expansion and future vision, a local state representative is supporting the institution’s leadership.

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The Massachusetts Cultural Council is the latest group to urge the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield to halt its planned sale of art. 

Sotheby's

Auction house Sotheby’s has released estimates for what 40 objects from the Berkshire Museum’s collection in Pittsfield, Massachusetts could fetch. 

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The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts plans to withdraw from its partnership with the Smithsonian Institute. 

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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. 

Image by the architects, ARCADE. Courtesy Berkshire Museum.

The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts says it can’t accept a $1 million donation from an anonymous group that wants the museum to halt its planned sale of artwork. 

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Opponents are calling on the Berkshire Museum to pause its plan to sell 40 objects from its collection to fund major renovations and create an endowment. A loose coalition organized on Facebook has been publicly questioning the museum’s finances and leadership. The museum has spent much of the summer disputing the criticism. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief JD Allen spoke with financial journalist Felix Salmon of Fusion, who recently published a post on the Berkshire Museum’s finances. The museum challenges Salmon’s findings, recently featured on his blog “Cause and Effect.”

Images by Experience Design. Courtesy Berkshire Museum

The director of the Norman Rockwell Museum is defending the Berkshire Museum’s board of trustees – despite coming out against that museum’s plan to sell two Rockwell works to fund an expansion and endowment plan. 

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Artists and educators have been protesting the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts today. They are trying to halt the auction of 40 objects in the collection to pay for an overhaul of the museum and an endowment fund. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief JD Allen spoke with protestor Ed Pelkey about the group’s criticism of the Berkshire Museum.

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At least six relatives of Norman Rockwell have denounced the Berkshire Museum’s plan to put art on the auction block — including two works by the famed American illustrator — to fund an expansion and endowment. 

Images by Experience Design. Courtesy Berkshire Museum

Now an update to a story we brought you last week: Criticism from national museum associations, cultural institutions, artists, and educators apparently won’t stop the Berkshire Museum’s plan to sell 40 objects in its collection to pay for an overhaul of the Pittsfield complex and an endowment fund.

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The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts is defending its plan to sell 40 objects in its collection to pay for an overhaul of the museum and an endowment fund. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief JD Allen spoke with Executive Director Van Shields about dispute, which involves criticism from national museum associations, other local cultural institutions, artists, and educators. The coalition is calling on Shields and the Berkshire Museum to halt the auction.

Image by the architects, ARCADE. Courtesy Berkshire Museum.

The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts is caught in a controversy about its plan to sell off part of its collection to pay for an overhaul of the museum and an endowment fund.

Images by Experience Design. Courtesy Berkshire Museum

More than twenty members of the local arts scene have sent a letter to the Berkshire Museum urging the Pittsfield attraction to stop its plan to sell collection items to fund an expansion. 

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The director of the Norman Rockwell Museum has come out against the Berkshire Museum’s plans to sell two of the iconic American painter’s works from its collection. 

Images by Experience Design. Courtesy Berkshire Museum

The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield has unveiled a $60 million plan to reinvent itself as Western Massachusetts’ premier science and history museum. 

The exhibition explores people's fear of shadows.
Jim Levulis / WAMC

You may have noticed the Halloween candy and decorations already creeping onto store shelves. Now, some rather spooky items have found their way out of the Berkshire Museum’s storage areas and into its exhibit halls.

The Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation at the Berkshire Museum
Jim Levulis / WAMC

A recently completed renovation has recast the Berkshire Museum’s focus on the long history of innovation in the area.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

An exhibit at the Berkshire Museum is showcasing the work of a photojournalist whose collections of images from nearly 100 countries have been displayed in museums around the world, including at the Louvre in Paris. An opening reception is set for Friday at 5:30.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

Two well known educational attractions in the Berkshires are looking to work together to share audiences, spaces and themes.

  Located in downtown Pittsfield, Massachusetts, the Berkshire Museum has been a Smithsonian Affiliate since 2013. Established in 1903, the Berkshire Museum integrates art, history, and natural science in a wide range of programs and exhibitions that inspire educational connections between the disciplines.

The new exhibition If/Then opens this Saturday, January 24 at the Berkshire Museum. Visitors to If/Then will enter a topsy-turvy world of experience, where senses rule. They will traverse the horizontal climbing wall; dodge an obstacle course of pretend laser beams; and use dots and dashes to mark their height on a drawing wall.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

If you think of museums as stuffy, static spaces trying to keep the past from slipping away, think again.

   In association with the Smithsonian since 2013, Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, MA is part of a select group of museums, cultural, educational, and arts organizations that share the Smithsonian's resources with the nation. Established by Zenas Crane in 1903, Berkshire Museum integrates art, history, and natural science in a wide range of programs and exhibitions that inspire educational connections between the disciplines.

A new exhibition, Berkshire Collects, will open this Saturday, January 25th. It showcases Berkshire County residents’ passionate pursuit of every imaginable kind of object from rare motorcycles to wind-up toys, exotic insects, vintage guitars, antique toasters, Pez dispensers, and a host of other artifacts and memorabilia. With more than 40 collectors sharing their treasures, the exhibit is a salute to the long and diverse tradition of collecting that built the Berkshire Museum 110 years ago.

Van Shields, Executive Director of Berkshire Museum and their Director of Communications, Lesley Ann Beck, join us to tell us more.