What Happened in Museums this Week?

What Happened in Museums This Week? June 1 – 7

BMA Wants Renoir Back

Baltimore Museum of Art Argues in Court Papers for Return of Renoir

The Baltimore Museum of Art argued in federal court this week that a disputed Renoir supposedly found at a flea market by a Loudoun County driving teacher legally belongs to the 99-year-old institution.

In documents filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, the BMA asserted that no one but the museum can legally own the Renoir because the painting was pilfered while on exhibit there in 1951. Even if someone had purchased the Renoir without knowing that it had been stolen, the piece legally must be returned to the BMA, the museum argued. To read more, click here.

Ex-CEO Speaks Out

Ex-Museum CEO Calls Proposed Mandate ‘Narrow and Parochial’

A government plan to rename the Canadian Museum of Civilization as the Museum of History abandons a successful brand and gives it a “deeply worrying” new mandate, says the man who led the museum from 2000 to 2011.

Former CEO Victor Rabinovitch addressed the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage Wednesday evening, making his first public remarks since the government announced the proposed changes in the fall of 2012. To read more, click here.

Facing Closure

Bradford Media Museum Closure Would ‘Kill’ City Centre

The museum is one of three in the north of England facing possible closure after the Science Museum Group (SMG) which runs them said it was in a “weak” financial position.

Bradford South Labour MP Gerry Sutcliffe said SMG wanted the museum to be in London. To read more, click here.

Museum of the Year

William Morris Gallery Wins Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year

A museum dedicated to the life and works of the Victorian designer, artist and ardent socialist William Morris has been named winner of the UK’s largest arts prize.

The William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow, London, won the £100,000 Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year, triumphing over institutions that included the Kelvingrove in Glasgow, the Baltic in Gateshead and the Hepworth in Wakefield. To read more, click here.

New Director Named

Cooper-Hewitt Museum Names New Director

Caroline Baumann, the acting director of Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York, has been officially given the chief job, the museum announced on Thursday.

“She has been key in the museum’s growing success over the years and has been especially adept at forming substantive partnerships in New York, in Washington, across the nation and, indeed, around the world,” the Smithsonian secretary, Wayne Clough, said in announcing the appointment. To read more, click here.

Primate Fossil Excitement is Building

Carnegie Museum of Natural History Contributes Analysis to Important Primate Fossil Find in China

The primate fossil is almost a full skeleton, making it a very rare discovery. Add the fact it existed near to the time of the common ancestor of two branches of primates, including the branch in the evolutionary tree leading to humans.

Excitement is building and debate stirring about the newly discovered primate, Archicebus achilles, which existed about 55 million years ago and is helping paleontologists answer long-standing questions about early primates and humans’ earliest ancestors. To read more, click here.

Risky Children’s Museum

Children’s Museum in Mendel Building A ‘Risk,’ Report Says

Once the art moves out of the Mendel Art Gallery building, the Children’s Discovery Museum is set to move in – but a business plan on its way before city council shows a $600,000 funding gap for the museum, and one councillor says it needs a better financial plan before it sets up along the riverbank.

“They need to show how their organization can become financially sustainable without heavy reliance on civic government support,” Coun. Tiffany Paulsen said in an interview. To read more, click here.

Snoopy Supports Museums

State Assembly OKs Snoopy License Plates Bill to Support Museums

He may not be taking on the Red Baron in this one, but Snoopy may soon be seen on the back of some California cars.

The state Assembly passed a bill Thursday that would establish a Snoopy license plate to benefit California museums.

AB 482, introduced by Assemblywoman Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), passed with a vote of 57-19.

The bill, which now goes to the Senate, would allow the California Cultural and Historical Endowment to use the revenue from the plate to create a new grant program to support small capital projects at museums. To read more, click here.

Support for DIA

Bill to Protect DIA Artwork Passes State Senate Committee

A state Senate committee moved quickly today to approve a bill that would protect the art collections at the Detroit Institute of Arts specifically, and Michigan museums in general, from liquidation in the event of a municipal bankruptcy proceeding.

The bill was introduced Thursday by Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, and approved on a 5-0 vote today by the General Operations Committee. To read more, click here.

What headlines caught your eye this week?

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