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Protest scheduled against sale of 40 pieces of art at Berkshire Museum

A protest is planned at the Berkshire Museum Saturday, opposing the proposed sale of some 40 pieces of art -- including two paintings by Norman Rockwell.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- Carol Diehl is setting up a protest outside the Berkshire Museum on Saturday. It adds to the pushback of a sale of 40 different pieces of art, that could be worth tens of millions of dollars.

“This is a historical collection that belongs in Pittsfield these are artifacts of our life our history and they belong with the people here,” Diehl said.

Museum officials say they’d use the funds from that sale to offset growing financial troubles. Diehl says the sale could set a precedent for other Museums.

“To think that this issue of now international importance because it affects institutions all across the country and abroad and how collections are dealt with is decided by a single judge in Pittsfield is pretty wild,” Diehl said.

Two pieces by Norman Rockwell highlight the sale, including his masterpiece, “Shuffleton’s Barbershop.” Rockwell’s family has also sued the museum in their own attempt to stop the sale. But a judge ruled the family has no legal standing to do so. Then the Massachusetts Attorney General filed for an appeal.

In response, an attorney for the Berkshire Museum said in a statement that “We are disappointed that the Attorney General has decided to continue legal action that threatens the future of the Berkshire Museum,” And that

“Continuing this litigation jeopardizes vital educational, cultural and economic resources in a struggling community, placing the special interests of a portion of the well-funded arts community over people.”

The protest starts at 11am outside the museum.

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