May 19, 2018: AAMG maintains its principled opposition to LaSalle University’s decision to monetize key works from its Museum’s permanent collection to fund activities that are entirely unrelated to the acquisition of new objects, the care of collections, nor indeed the Museum itself. Like our colleagues at AAMD (the Association of Art Museum Directors), we affirm that: “College and university art museums have a long and rich history of collecting, curating, and educating in a financially and ethically responsible manner on par with the world’s most prestigious institutions. A different governance structure does not exempt a university museum from acting ethically, nor permit them to ignore issues of public trust and use collections as disposable financial assets. This is a fundamental ethical principle of the museum field, one which all institutions are obligated to respect: in no event shall funds from deaccessioned works be used for anything other than support for a museum’s collections (https://aamd.org/for-the-media/press-release/statement-on-la-salle-university-proposal-to-deaccession-works-of-art).”
LaSalle’s decision to sell high-value works of art from its Museum’s permanent collection with the sole aim of generating new revenue blatantly violates public trust and contravenes clear ethical guidelines. It equally erodes the educational missions of the University and its Museum, while undercutting the capacities of both to serve their many constituencies, on and off their campus. It is regrettable that President Hancyz and the University’s Board of Trustees do not fully appreciate the stewardship responsibilities incumbent upon them nor, indeed, the poor precedent they are setting by converting art entrusted to them into capital.