Curious Objects: Museums and the Lure of the Sell-Off, with the PMA’s director and CEO Timothy Rub

Editorial Staff Curious Objects

The Association of Art Museum Directors killed something of a sacred cow last year when it ruled that museums will be permitted to use funds from deaccessioned artworks—previously strictly controlled—to pay for a wider array of institutional costs. On the occasion of this year’s virtual Philadelphia Show art and antiques fair, Ben Miller speaks with the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s director and CEO Timothy Rub about the AAMD’s ruling and the ripple effects it might have throughout the museum world. In a wide-ranging conversation, which gets into the nitty gritty of collecting and deaccessioning habits and procedures, as well as fundraising niceties, Rub makes a strong case for continuing to keep the departments of museums—and their fundraising efforts—firmly separated.

Timothy Rub was appointed the George D. Widener Director and chief executive officer of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2009. Previously, Rub has served as the director and chief executive officer at the Cleveland Museum of Art (2006–2009), as director at the Cincinnati Art Museum (2000–2006), and as director at the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College (1991–1999). Rub’s fields of specialization are architecture and modern art. He received a bachelor’s degree in art history, cum laude with highest honors, from Middlebury College, and a master’s degree in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University.