Thursday, June 18, 2009

Brodsky's Anti-Deaccessioning Letter to the Albany Times Union

NY Assemblyman Richard Brodsky writes a letter, published Thursday, June 18, 2009, entitled Protect Museums from Fiscal Woes, to the Albany Times Union. Here it is in its entirety below.

Recently there have been attempts in New York and elsewhere to monetize museum collections and to use that money for purposes other than the protection and expansion of collections. The Troy Public Library is an example ("Troy Public Library sculptures on auction block," June 9.)The economic downturn has increased the financial pressure on these cultural institutions. However, selling pieces of their collections is inconsistent with accepted practice.Without a law, the financial pressure and the bean counters will endanger collections that took centuries to acquire, many of which were donated by people who may not have intended to have their gifts sold. Unless these rules are codified, the integrity and existence of collections handed to us by earlier generations will be endangered.Libraries and museums aren't private businesses. They are the custodians of our common cultural and historical heritage and have always been publicly supported, be it by tax preferences or direct cash. Collections aren't assets, to be tapped when things get genuinely difficult. If you sell sculptures to keep the doors open, soon you'll have open doors and no sculptures.We have worked with the Board of Regents and the Museum Association of New York to craft legislation (A.6959) that incorporates the long-standing policies of most museums that are necessary to protect our cultural heritage in a time of economic stress. We urge you to join us in support.

Assemblyman Richard Brodsky
92nd Assembly District

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