There are a number of comments from Anne Ackerson, director of the Museum Association of New York, including the following:
1. She says that when the regents proposed criteria in the past, “they wrote a very restrictive number of criteria that were not really helpful and really did not mirror the professional practice across the country.” The new criteria — which, as I’ve said, allow museums to deaccession whenever they feel like it (all they have to say is they’re “refining their collection” — and what deaccessioning doesn’t do that?) — do mirror the professional practice, and therefore “people are happy.”
2. And why did a “restrictive number of criteria” make people unhappy? Because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with deaccessioning: “We want to make it very clear that deaccessioning is not a dirty word, that it’s a legitimate activity.”
So it’s not that once an object falls under the aegis of a museum, it is held in the public trust, to be accessible to present and future generations.
And it’s not that if museums are allowed to sell works from their collections, somebody will say, Why should I give this to you? What guarantee do I have that you’re not going to sell this tomorrow?