Felix Salmon had a curious interchange with someone from Brandeis University:
But he did confirm for me that the reason the Rose Art Museum is being closed has everything to do with deaccessioning rules.
Brandeis has been saying that it’s not going to be selling off all of the Rose Art Museum’s art at once — or even, necessarily, any of it at all. So I asked Nathan why the musem needed to be shut down, if the university is going to hold on to the vast majority of its art for the near future.
Nathan told me that the reason is that selling art which is part of a museum is very difficult indeed. Clearly, Brandeis has come to the conclusion that by shutting down the museum, it can ignore all rules pertaining to deaccessioning, and worry only about the strings attached by donors to individual artworks.
Nathan also said something else which was extremely interesting to me: apparently all of the Rose Art Museum’s artworks are considered to be assets of the university endowment, valued at $1 each. All the proceeds from the sale of any artwork, then, is automatically a desperately-needed capital gain for the endowment.
How Deaccessioning Rules Doomed the Rose Art Museum (Market Movers/Portfolio.com)