How should a museum raise money? This question becomes particularly pressing as more cuts are made to public spending and as museums struggle with restrictions on deaccessioning.
The museum has had success raising funds by loaning works and organizing international tours. In 2005, it lent works to the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin for a substantial sum. In 2008, it organized a “Masterpieces from the Picasso Museum” exhibit, which has traveled to 8 different cities and raised 16 million euros. The prices charged vary according to the number of works and other factors.
However, this method of money-making has faced strong opposition. In 2009, the French Government implemented a loan freeze on works that were not already on tour. At the beginning of this year, the General Association of Curators of French Public Collections released a report criticizing the “extreme free-market logic” recently adopted by museums. The document was signed by over 1,000 curators.
Does the practice of charging for loans commodify important works of art and cultural heritage? Should important items from the collection be going out on tour? Or rather, is this the only way to raise the funds necessary to protect and preserve these important works?