Not every column I wrote for the newspaper was published. One in particular, written when the Delaware Art Museum first announced it was considering selling some works to get out of heavy debt, was killed about 15 minutes after it had been posted online. My opinion a coupon may get some “regular” folks interested in going to the museum did not sit well with someone at the newspaper. Neither did my opinion the museum, if it had to sell a couple pieces of art to survive, should go ahead and do so.
That is apparently a no-no-no-no — did I say no-no? — in the museum world. But guess what. I’d rather have an art museum still around because it sold some art so it could pay off debts it incurred than a shuttered museum.
Anyway….. Here is that column. It was online for few minutes on March 27, 2014, and also was posted on a friend’s Facebook. By the way …. The museum did sell some art and is still around today.
Sell it if you must
The Delaware Art Museum wants to sell at least three, possibly four, works of art from its collection to pay off debt and boost its endowment.
Tsk. Tsk. That’s a real no-no in the museum world.
But not in my world.
I say go for it … IF – notice the screaming caps – IF other options have been exhausted and selling a couple of pieces of art is the only way to stay afloat.
Admittedly, I know nothing about museum ethics and the “rules” about what should and shouldn’t be done with museum collections. I won’t even pretend to.
But what good is a shuttered museum to anyone? Sell a couple of pieces, pay your bills and figure out a way to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Which brings me to another point. A museum many people don’t seem to even know exists isn’t much better than one that is shuttered.
I’ll be the first to admit the Delaware Art Museum is not high on my list of priorities. Check that. It’s not anywhere on my list of priorities, be it high or low.
It appears there are many others who feel the same, even people with money. Real money. The kind that could help. Not my kind. The kind that usually needs a coupon with it to get the big box of cat litter.
It’s not that I don’t like the museum. I’ve been to it.
But I bet my once is once more than many of you.
That’s not a criticism, just an educated guess.
After all, who am I to criticize. If someone were to ask me how to get to the Delaware Art Museum – not that I can imagine that ever happening – but if someone were, I wouldn’t be able to tell them.
That is sad, and frankly, quite embarrassing. On my part as well as the museum’s part.
On my part because I don’t really know enough or care enough about something I really should care about.
And on the museum’s part because its leadership hasn’t done enough to help me (and you) see why we should care.
So sell that art. Pay your bills. And make a fresh go of it. It’s important.
I promise I’ll bring my money – with a coupon if I can find one – and pay you another visit.