battle in the berkshires News

Hearing Set on Berkshire Museum Sales in Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

The Supreme Judicial Court in Boston.


The ongoing battle over the future of the Berkshire Museum will head to court on Tuesday afternoon, with a justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in Boston set to hear from lawyers with the Pittsfield-based institution and the state’s Attorney General’s Office, according to the Berkshire Eagle.

In February, the two parties announced that they had reached an agreement that would allow the museum to sell as many as 40 of its works, including a prized Norman Rockwell painting donated by the artist, so that it can raise money for a renovation and endowment. An anonymous buyer for the Rockwell, titled Shuffleton’s Barbershop (1950), has reportedly already been found.

David A. Lowy, an associate justice appointed to the bench by the state’s current governor, Charlie Baker, is scheduled to conduct the hearing. The museum and the AGO have asked the SJC to sign off on the deal.

A variety of plaintiffs, including current and former museum members, had moved to stop the sale, and lawyers for those still opposing the sale are expected to be heard in court, having filed amicus briefs on the deal, the Eagle reports. Those briefs argue that the museum has overstated its financial distress and maintain that the sales are unnecessary, that they would violate the wishes of donors, and that they would hinder the ability of the museum to fulfill its charter.

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