Statement on Deaccessioning of "Men of the Docks" by Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College
American Alliance of Museums President Ford W. Bell issued the following statement in response to the sale by the Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College of “Men of the Docks” by George Bellows, the proceeds of which the university has dedicated to its endowment.
The sale of George Bellows’s “Men of the Docks” by the Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College is a flagrant, egregious violation of our Code of Ethics for Museums, showing total disregard of an important tenet common to the charter of all museums: collections are held in the public trust. And the public’s trust is the coin of the realm for museums. Strict adherence to the highest standards and best practices has made museums of all types among the most trusted sources of information for the American people. And the sale of “Men of the Docks” threatens that lofty status. Further, the trust of both the public and elected officials at all levels of government has enabled museums to remain largely a self-regulated industry; this action belies that distinction. The 3,500 museum members of the American Alliance of Museums—and especially our 441 college museum members—vigorously protest the sale of a great American artistic treasure.