Friday, June 19, 2009

"all options will remain on the table until the bond is paid off."

It looks like The Long Beach Museum of Art may be next in the deaccessioning wars.

[F]acing a $3-million bond debt that is due in September, the museum is fighting to maintain its collection amid calls for a city takeover and the sale of some of its most valuable works of art. Selling museum artworks for any reason other than acquisition or care would violate the code of ethics established by the American Assn. of Museums. But with the city's budget deficit at about $20 million, Long Beach City Councilman Patrick O'Donnell said, "all options will remain on the table until the bond is paid off."

The museum, with an annual budget of $3.4 million, has been chronically deficit-ridden since the expansion doubled its space.

If this doesn't prove my point I don't know what will. Any institution that is "critically deficit-ridden" should undergo a radical evaluation and transformation, even if closure is the answer. It seems the city of Long Beach has it right, taking the museum out of incompetent hands and delivering it to private owners or managing it itself.

The city is already studying a variety of options, Foster said, including, "trusteeship, contracting management and operations, private ownership and the city taking outright control of the museum's assets."

The LA Times has the full story.

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