The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, said in a statement today that its executive director, Van Shields, is going on medical leave in order to “undergo major surgery,” and that he is expected to be out until around the end of the year. The news was first reported by WAMC, Northeast Public Radio.
Nina Garlington, who is currently chief engagement officer at the museum, and Craig Langlois, who is chief experience officer, will take over as acting co-executive directors. “Fiduciary matters will remain in the hands of the board of trustees,” according to the museum’s news release.
The news of a shift in leadership, which will take place on October 31, comes days after a lawsuit was filed by the sons of Norman Rockwell and other plaintiffs, seeking to halt the museum’s controversial plan to sell off 40 works at Sotheby’s in order to build its endowment, fund renovations, and pursue a “New Vision” marked by a greater focus on science and technology-driven exhibitions.
Elizabeth “Buzz” McGraw, the board’s president, said in a statement that the temporary leadership and board remain committed to that plan.
A Massachusetts court is scheduled to hold a hearing on that complaint on November 1.