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Foes of art sale hold rally outside Pittsfield museum

Protesters at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield decried the museum’s planned sale of several works of art.Haven Orecchio-Egresitz/The Berkshire Eagle/AP

PITTSFIELD — More than 50 community members gathered outside of the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield on Saturday to protest the museum’s decision to sell 40 works of art to raise money for renovations.

The rally by the Save the Art-Save the Museum group was in front of the museum.

The museum is auctioning 40 pieces from its collection — including two by Norman Rockwell — to boost its endowment and raise money for renovations as it refocuses its mission on natural history and science.

Save the Art-Save the Museum has been raising money to help fund the legal efforts to stop the sale. A GoFundMe page has raised nearly $16,000. Two lawsuits have been filed to halt the auction.


Seven pieces, including the two Rockwells, are scheduled for auction Nov. 13.

Last week, former Berkshire Museum member Elizabeth Weinberg and current members James and Kristin Hatt filed a complaint in state court in Boston arguing that the sale “will do irreparable harm to [the museum’s] purpose and to its duties and obligations to its donors and members.”

The complaint accuses the museum and its trustees of breach of contract and fiduciary duty. It asks the court to issue a temporary restraining order to block the sale.

It follows a separate legal challenge filed in Pittsfield earlier this month.

Hearings are scheduled in Boston and Pittsfield on the cases on Nov. 1.