AAMG Task Force for the Protection of University Collections Condemns La Salle University Decision to Deaccession Works of Art

Museums that enjoy not-for-profit status, whether public or private, hold their collections in trust for the public’s benefit. The Task Force for the Protection of University Collections, which operates under the umbrella of the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries (AAMG), was disheartened to learn of LaSalle University’s proposal to sell 46 masterworks from its museum’s collection to fund strategic initiatives at the University over the course of the next five years.

Though AAMG Task Force representatives have been unable to speak directly with the LaSalle University Art Museum Director or the University’s President or Provost, the institution’s intentions—as we understand them—clearly contravene all relevant ethical standards. As such, we must censure the University’s stated intention to sell works from its Museum’s collection to fund operating expenses.

Art museums and the organizations that represent them recognize that maintaining a healthy collection may require the periodic sale of works that do not advance a museum’s mission or whose continued stewardship would be an inappropriate use of resources. However, LaSalle University’s stated intent of using the funds from the sale of works from the museum’s collection for the general purposes of the University is unethical and cannot be condoned.

Academic museums serve their campuses and their communities as critically important centers for learning: as such, the disposal of art from such collections to raise operating funds cripples the academic missions of not only these repositories but also their parent organizations. It also directly violates the trust in which such works are held. We, therefore, implore LaSalle University to reconsider its decision and to instead seek other means for fulfilling its strategic objectives. We also ask that those who understand the negative consequences of such actions join us in informing the President and Provost of LaSalle University of their opposition.

Jill Deupi, J.D., Ph.D., Beaux Arts Director and Chief Curator
Lowe Art Museum
University of Miami
AAMG Task Force co-chair

Lyndel King, Ph.D., Director and Chief Curator
Weisman Art Museum
University of Minnesota
AAMG Task Force co-chair

Categories: AAMG Press Release