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From Going Bust to Donating Busts: Adventures in Museum Philanthropy

Guest: Professor Jane Moss, Unfunded List Board Member


Museums are bastions of philanthropy. Nearly everything at any museum has been donated from the building to the art on the walls to the endowment paying out salaries. They are also institutions built to last and sometimes the donor’s intentions can be overlooked or forgotten. During the 2006 financial crisis, Brandeis University found themselves in desperate need of operating funds and decided to sell some art from the Rose Art Museum on campus. This initiated a lengthy fight in the courts and media with the Rose Family and descendants. 

Recently, Rose Family Member and Unfunded List Board Member Jane Moss donated a considerable piece of American Art: A bust of “Arrowmaker” by Edmonia Lewis. Lewis was a notable black-native artist who was one of the best sculptors of the American neoclassical style. The incident with the Rose Museum was very much on Professor Moss’s mind as she considered where she would donate the bust that had been in her family for generations. Join her as she talks about how she decided where to donate this important piece of American Art and learn when and where it will be displayed.


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