Bennington College’s Recent Announcement to Sell Five Major Works of Art

Dear AAMG community,

 In light of Bennington College’s recent announcement of its intention to sell five major works of art to fund a new scholarship initiative (, AAMG would like to remind our members and our colleagues as well as their senior administrators that we are deeply committed to the protection of college and university collections and opposed to the monetization of works of arts from any academic museum’s permanent collection to fund activities other than the acquisition of new objects and/or the direct the care of the collections. Details about our stance on deaccessioning may be found on pages 21 and 22 of AAMG’s Professional Practices document (, a relevant excerpt of which we include below for your convenience.

While AAMG finds nothing inherently wrong with Bennington’s decision—the College does not have a museum (and never has, to the best of our understanding); the gifts they intend to sell are, according to the limited information in the public domain, unrestricted; Bennington’s administration has been completely transparent with interested parties, including the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation; and these sales are not being made under duress or in response to a fiscal urgency but, rather, are part of a clearly articulated plan to advance mission-centric goals—it does remind us all of just how vulnerable the collections entrusted to our care and stewardship are.

Respectfully submitted on behalf of AAMG’s Officers, Executive Committee, and Board and the Task Force for the Protection of University Collections,

Jill Deupi and John Wetenhall

Jill Deupi, J.D., Ph.D.
Beaux Arts Director and Chief Curator, Lowe Art Museum
University of Miami
1301 Stanford Drive
Coral Gables, FL 33146

John Wetenhall, Ph.D.
Director, The George Washington University Museum | The Textile Museum
701 21st Street, NW • Washington, DC 20052
202-994-5403 • •

Categories: General Announcement