Voices of Community Support

We are grateful for the support we are receiving for our plans from across the full spectrum of our community including Museum members and visitors, educators, cultural leaders, business owners, local creators, and Berkshire families. We are pleased to share some of their thoughts below.

Sale of artwork will benefit community by modernizing Berkshire Museum

Read the Letter Signed by Nearly 200 Members of the Community

“Under current leadership, the museum has become an exciting focus of the city’s downtown and we look forward to its continued superb contribution to the quality of life throughout the Berkshires.”

Alan Sandstrom, Pamela Sandstrom
Pittsfield, MA

“To me, the choice is clear. I fully support the Berkshire Museum because I am a direct product of its programming. And if a 17-year-old can see that this is the best choice, why can’t you?”

Olivia Kinne
Pittsfield, MA

“We need change here, especially geared towards our children. This will be nothing but an asset for everyone. My children already bug me many times a week to go to the museum. Imagine if there were much more for them to do and learn. I believe in nurturing my children in the sciences, because — like it or not — without science we wouldn’t have a quarter of the things we have today.”

Kate Lauzon
Pittsfield, MA

“This little gem that serves the Berkshire community like no other museum in the county has been under-supported for too long.”

Deborah Balmuth
Windsor, MA

“…Consider the wider purpose of the museum, which in our opinion is to appeal to the largest possible audience by providing an educational experience for all ages in the most state-of-the-art manner possible. We believe the new vision will accomplish this and more.”

Pat Cotton, Churchill Cotton
Pittsfield, MA

Our Opinion: Berkshire Museum’s ambitious reboot

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“…We cherish the Berkshire Museum for the quixotic diversity of its collection, and its power to draw interdisciplinary links between science, nature, and culture through layered educational programs. It can continue to do that with the 2,400 works of art in its collection and 38,000 other wonderful objects, specimens and artifacts. It cannot do that, however, without the means to remain in business.”

Joseph Thompson, Director
Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, MA

“I admire the courage it took for Executive Director Van Shields and the Board of Directors to take this bold step to assure a vibrant life of the Berkshire Museum for another 100 years.”

Michael Zaccaro
Pittsfield, MA

“The museum has worked diligently to expand its fundraising over the past seven years; contributed revenues have grown every year since 2010. This is something to celebrate as many nonprofit organizations do not consistently have that level of success. The single-patron model of fundraising, one which sustained the museum for many years, is a model that no longer exists, and the Berkshire Museum has done all the hard work possible to move away from dependence on that source of income.”

Abbie J. von Schlegell
Pittsfield, MA

“My wife and I, along with our children and grandchildren, have been members and fans of the Berkshire Museum for many years. … With excitement, we read the news of the museum’s plans to transform itself into a contemporary, family-friendly, educational institution.”

Elie Hammerling
Pittsfield, MA

“The museum of our childhood needs to grow, change and evolve. Some of the ideas that are in the works are beyond fabulous and we applaud their courage and bold sense of adventure.”

Laurie Tierney, David Tierney
Pittsfield, MA

“We live in a community blessed with exceptional museum professionals who are grappling with this very complex situation with integrity and conscience. I, for one, as a former Corporator of the museum, hope I can put my faith in the Berkshire Museum having done its homework, heard the many important voices and views, and ultimately taking a prudent course of action that will serve both the museum’s future and the community’s vitality.”

Barbara Bonner
Housatonic, MA

Feigenbaum Foundation pledges $2.5M to Berkshire Museum

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“Selling art is not something any museum wants to do. But as in any business, cultural or otherwise, certain sacrifices today can make a brighter future possible.”

Gary Schiff

“I’m rooting for the Berkshire Museum … I think it’s taken a tremendous amount of courage for the board to honestly assess where the museum stands today financially; to be bold and think about, ‘how do we transform our museum and make it relevant in today’s times;” to think about, ‘how do we accomplish this new vision in a way that’s financially sustainable.’ It’s exactly what the board members are supposed to do.”

Linda Tyer, Mayor
Pittsfield, MA

“There continues to be a need for museums to have a living presence in the communities where they are located to provide families a place to learn through science, history, the arts and play. We applaud your efforts to continue to serve in this role for the Berkshire region.”

Carole Charnow, President & CEO
Boston Children’s Museum

“That’s why I’m writing – just to say thanks for tackling this head on and facing the brutal facts with a bold self-derived solution and innovative vision for the Museum and future visitors to the area. We need a spot to tell our story, share the region’s experience and comprehensive set of values.”

 President and CEO of a Lee-based Company

“I sympathize with your situation and support your necessary actions.”

Director and Founder of a Massachusetts-based Museum

“The Berkshire Museum, and the volunteer board members, are trying hard to make this county-wide institution stronger for all of us and should be given more respect for their decisions to sell some of their collection to make this community museum a better place for all its people!”

Tommie L. Hutto-Blake,
Becket, MA

Change or die: Choice is clear for Berkshire Museum

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“There will be more programs and exhibits that will kindle the imagination and inspire participants to be lifelong learners as they see history and art in ways never before imagined. It promises to be an experience that children and adults of all ages will remember and will want to experience again and again.”

Marlena Willis,

“The museum’s plans are a perfect fit for what Pittsfield needs now, a truly “next big thing” in cultural development, while striving to transform lives.”

James M. Ruberto
Pittsfield, MA
(former mayor of Pittsfield)

“I believe that they are doing the right thing. I don’t think it is easy, but they faced reality head-on and, in a way, they are fortunate”

Cathy Deely,
Focus Group Participant

“We are full in support of the museum’s decision as they embark on a new and exciting journey. The Berkshire Museum is a wonderful institution with a rich history and dedicated and hardworking staff. We are lucky to have them.”

Joan and Paul Gluck

“Back when Zenas Crane founded the Berkshire Museum, his goal was to promote an appreciation of art, science, and natural history. Now that the appreciation of art is being so illustriously fulfilled by other local institutions which were not here when the Berkshire Museum was founded, why not now allow it to concentrate on the other two goals originally envisioned by Zenas Crane?”

John Galt
Pittsfield, MA

“I believe that the new vision is, in a sense, revolutionary — a symbol of what the community (and America) can become if we are open to it.”

Jayme Kurland
Becket, MA

“The progressive path the museum’s board and leadership have embarked upon points to this future and deserves our support.”

Jules Seltzer, CJ Bolster
Pittsfield, MA

“Today, I remain a supporter and friend of the Berkshire Museum. I continue to have tremendous faith in the museum’s board and staff leadership and commend them on their willingness to engage in tough conversations among themselves during the planning process and within our community now.
Have a question? I encourage you to ask them directly like I did.”

David S. Rosenthal
Stockbridge, MA

Rep. Farley-Bouvier backs Berkshire Museum board, calls for civil debate

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“Based on my research the Berkshire Museum’s reinvention plan is cutting edge, well thought out and a necessary response to evolving social and technological trends.”

Jim Curley
 Williamstown, MA (the writer is a native of Pittsfield)

“Thank you Berkshire Museum, Joseph Thompson and The Eagle for helping us understand what’s at stake and to appreciate our museum.”

George Bissell
Dalton, MA

“[You] truly make a difference in our community! Keep being awesome!”

Community Leader
Richmond, MA

“We think The Berkshire Museum’s plan to sell part of its collection to move its future forward makes a lot of sense and we totally support it.”

Seth Nash and Mitch Nash
Pittsfield, MA

“I want to extend my congratulations and thanks to Van Shields and the trustees of the Berkshire Museum for their exciting plan to renovate the museum and allow it to remain as one of Berkshire County’s top cultural destinations for years to come. … The Berkshires are changing in many ways and this is a sound step by the Berkshire Museum to adapt to that reality.”

Peter Lafayette
Pittsfield, MA

“I am so proud of the board and the staff for taking the courageous steps that will ensure that the museum will continue to serve the Berkshire community well into the 21st century and beyond.”

Elizabeth McGraw
Pittsfield, MA

Facing criticism, Berkshire Museum defends sale plan

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“I look forward to the successes I and many others can dream of for the museum, which are so close to becoming an experience for the present.”

Daniel E. Wollman, M.D.
Otis, Newtown, CT

“I am grateful that the Berkshire Museum has developed a forward-thinking plan that will keep it growing and thriving in Pittsfield for years to come.”

Julia Doyle
Pittsfield, MA

The Berkshire Museum acknowledges that there are voices in our community that do not support our New Vision. Please visit the website of the Berkshire Eagle to read their coverage of the story from the July 12 announcement to today, as well as the many letters that have been written to the editor by concerned residents on both sides of the issue.

Click here to learn how you can add your voice to the conversation.