Congressman Jim Gerlach (pictured here), a long-time supporter of efforts to keep the Barnes Foundation’s art collection in Lower Merion, has joined with Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce Castor in a new effort to reach that goal. They have sent a joint letter to Governor Tom Corbett’s chief legal counsel, asking him to take another look at the use of state funding to pay for moving the collection to a new museum on the Ben Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. Gerlach says the move is an improper use of tax dollars because it violates the will of Doctor Albert Barnes, who assembled the collection.
“To facilitate this move, even though it’s against his wishes, we’re now seeing the use of state taxpayer money for that purpose, and given the financial condition of the Commonwealth’s government, as well as the moral problem of taking a guy’s art collection and moving it ten miles down the road so you can take advantage of it in the City of Philadelphia, even though he didn’t want that to happen, is wrong.”
Gerlach says Doctor Barnes specified in his will that he wanted the art collection to stay at his school in Lower Merion, displayed exactly as he left it, and not be moved anywhere else.