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Sep 6, 8:12 AM EDT

Massachusetts museum ends Smithsonian affiliation over sale


PITTSFIELD, Mass. (AP) -- A Massachusetts museum embroiled in a bitter controversy over a plan to sell 40 works of art has ended its relationship with the Smithsonian Institution over the sale.

The affiliation between the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield and the Smithsonian was established in 2013 and provided the Massachusetts museum with Smithsonian resources and reciprocal admissions benefits at participating Smithsonian affiliates.

The Berkshire Museum's executive director tells The Berkshire Eagle (http://bit.ly/2xaknDK ) the decision to sell the art, including two Norman Rockwell pieces, runs afoul of the American Alliance of Museum's code of ethics.

Van Shields says the partnership was ended voluntary.

The Berkshire Museum has drawn widespread condemnation for its decision to auction the art, which it says is necessary to raise $60 million as it refocuses its mission and ensures its long-term survival.

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Information from: The Berkshire (Mass.) Eagle, http://www.berkshireeagle.com

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