I still remember vividly the morning in January 2009 when I opened the NYT to read the terrible news that Brandeis University had decided to close the museum and sell the collection. It sounded so horribly final that I burst into tears, sitting in the airport on my way to an AAMD meeting. As a student at Brandeis in the late 1970s, I spent what seemed like almost every waking minute in the Rose Art Museum, and I loved it. At the Rose I learned to look at art, and to love art, and it became a huge part of my life. My work and study at the Rose enabled my entire future. To learn that it was being closed and the collection dispersed was personally crushing, and seemed like a terrible waste of one of the university’s greatest assets.
Conversely, to hear yesterday that this nightmare had ended, and that the museum would remain open and the collection would not be sold, caused me to feel nothing but joy. During the past two years, I worked with many colleagues at Brandeis to try to change the tide, and through the work of many people, and most crucially that of the university’s new President Fred Lawrence, it happened. I congratulate President Lawrence and the Brandeis Board of Trustees on this wise and inspiring decision, which will help to ensure a bright and successful future for this wonderful university.
Kimerly Rorschach is the Mary D.B.T. and James H. Semans Director of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.