The New York Times reported today that The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History will no longer accept money from the Sackler Family. The Met and AMNH follow in the footsteps of the Tate group of museums in England and the Guggenheim in rejecting future Sackler money.
Daniel Weiss, the Met’s president, explained how he decision was made about the Sacklers, the NYT reports,
“We are not a partisan organization, we are not a political organization, so we don’t have a litmus test for whom we take gifts from based on policies or politics,” Mr. Weiss said. “If there are people who want to support us, for the most part we are delighted.”
“We would only not accept gifts from people if it in some way challenges or is counter to the core mission of the institution, in exceptional cases,” he added. “The OxyContin crisis in this country is a legitimate and full-blown crisis.”
Mr. Weiss made the Sackler decision with the Met’s board of trustees. The article also reports that the Met’s “board had voted to codify how the museum accepts named gifts, formalizing a longstanding practice of circulating those proposals through a chain of departments.”
This is a major success and Marabou is hoping this will create new momentum in the movement to reconsider how our museums are funded. Marabou has some thoughts about the a-political nature of museums, but is willing to table that for now to celebrate this victory.
The decision to reject money from unethical sources and work to clarify donation processes is something that Whitney workers and protestors have been asking for since November. Added to the already existing internal and external pressures that include Whitney workers, Whitney Biennial artists, activists, community groups, and the New York Times, are the actions of three NYC museums rejecting Sackler money. Will the Whitney remain silent and complicit?