It looks as if the Brandeis University-Rose Art Museum brouhaha is turning some museum associations into, for this field, activists. A group task force is circulating a petition with the theme "Great Universities Have Great Museums," closely following the NEA's slogan, "A Great Nation Deserves Great Art."
When Brandeis announced in January that it intended to close the Rose Art Museum, a few critics complained that neither the Association of College and University Museums and Galleries nor the Association of Art Museum Directors moved quickly enough. Still, when ACUMG did protest, its statement deplored the university's move "in the most unequivocal terms." Branding the Brandeis decision a "dismal example" to other colleges and universities, David Alan Robertson, ACUMG's president, told the New York Times, "One fears that this opens a floodgate." (Robertson is also director of the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern.)
Now ACUMG, AAMD, the College Art Association, the American Association of Museums, the Association of Art Museum Curators, the University Museums and Collections group of the International Council of Museums, and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation are seeking like-minded academics in an effort to make sure that floodgate stays closed.