The Future of the Rose

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Here’s an update on the ongoing crisis of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University. As you probably know, two months ago Brandeis administrators started talking about closing the museum and selling off some of its collection to help close the university’s budget gap. When that decision was met by an uproar on campus and off, Brandeis Provost Marty Krauss formed a Committee on the Future of the Rose to allow faculty and other concerned people to offer their input.

The committee, which met for the first time recently, issued its statement of purpose Friday, a mission statement that, as worded, could cover anything from simply advising the Brandeis administration and trustees as they move to sell off whatever parts of the collection to making a stronger case for keeping the Rose open and unmolested. (They do cite their intention “to identify and explore options”.)

In that connection Brandeis Prof. Detlev Suderow, a member of the Committee, sent an e-mail statement recently to the Brandeis campus paper The Justice.

“In my personal opinion, recommending that the University keep the museum open as a public museum will only be valid if we present other options. Just saying ‘no’ is not a solution.”

On its own website the Rose Museum is taking a skeptical view of the whole thing.

Please note that neither the Director of the museum nor the Chairman of the museum’s Board of Overseers is on this Committee. Instructions to the Committee clearly state that issues surrounding the art collection (the essential identity of the museum) are NOT within the Committee’s charge and remain the domain of the University Trustees. Thus, the situation of the Rose remains essentially the same as it was on January 26, 2009 when it was announced that the museum will be closed and the artwork sold.

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