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"AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF MUSEUMS ISSUES STATEMENT ON BROOKLYN MUSEUM OF ART'S CONTROVERSIAL EXHIBITION"
0000-00-00 until 0000-00-00
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF MUSEUMS
Washington, DC, USA United States of America

Following recent events involving the Brooklyn Museum of Art's (BMA) exhibition Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection, Edward H. Able, Jr., President and CEO of the American Association of Museums, made the following statement: Mayor Giuliani has a record of strong and steady support for New York's renowned cultural institutions, particularly its world-class museums. He has shown in the past that he understands the importance of these institutions to the quality of life and to the financial well-being of one of the world's great cities. His position on this matter, therefore, is distressing.

In the recent past, attempts have been made to restrict the content of exhibitions at museums of all kinds, including history, natural history, art and others. When material is controversial, challenging and even offensive to some visitors, such attempts can be expected. But the fact is this: time and again, the American public has supported the right of its museums freely to present information and experiences that reflect a true diversity of culture, ideas and perspectives. Museums have a responsibility to preserve our past and enlighten our present, often advancing new and challenging interpretations of art, history and science. To restrict a museum's ability to do so strikes at the heart of its mission of service to the community and its role in helping people understand and value who they are, where they came from, and where they are going.

In the increasingly acrimonious debate over this particular exhibition, one important fact is being ignored by the press and public figures. The Brooklyn Museum of Art is an outstanding institution that has earned the trust and respect of generations of visitors. It has served its community since 1823. Of particular note is that BMA is accredited by the American Association of Museums. Only 10 percent of museums in the country are so honored, a distinction earned by an institution that performs on all levels according to the highest professional standards and practices, and fulfills its obligations to its community and its many publics. The Brooklyn Museum of Art deserves the mayor's continuing support for its decades of excellence and its vital contribution to the lives of the citizens of New York and the world.

The American Association of Museums is the national association representing the concerns of the museum community. AAM assesses museum programs and accredits museums, provides education and training for museum professionals, operates international museum programs, and advocates for the advancement of museums. Since its founding in 1906, AAM has grown to include more than 16,400 members, including more than 11,400 museum professionals, 3,000 museums, and 1,900 corporate members.


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