Berkshire Museum Director Exits After Year Of Controversy
The executive director of the Berkshire Museum, who's recently led the Pittsfield, Massachusetts, institution through big plans and much controversy, is retiring.
The group Save the Art, Save the Museum said Shields's departure shows "the board recognizes the damage [Shields] has done."
The Berkshire Museum's statement announcing the retirement offered no change in strategy. Board President Elizabeth McGraw said Shields "helped chart a course to secure the museum’s future."
The leadership change took effect immediately, according to museum spokeswoman Carol Bosco Baumann. When asked if the board requested Shields's resignation, Baumann replied, "It was Van's decision."
Shields made nearly $140,000 during the museum's 2016 fiscal year, according to its IRS filing.
Baumann declined to say whether Shields received a severance package. She said the institution does not comment on personnel matters, citing a "longstanding practice in protection of privacy."
Baumann confirmed that Shields, who is 68, was on medical leave at some point last fall.
The museum named an interim director, David Ellis. The 82-year-old perviously held temporary leadership positions at the Boston Children’s Museum and the Harvard Museum of Natural History. A national search is planned for a permanent replacement.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said Van Shields is 82 years old. That is incorrect, and relied on information from a museum spokeswoman, who later said she misread our question. Interim director David Ellis is 82. Shields is 68.