Van Shields, the Executive Director of The Berkshire Museum is stepping down.

The Berkshire Museum has been in the headlines for months now surrounding the controversial sale of art work from their collection and, according to MassLive, the downtown Pittsfield cultural center is now losing it's Executive Director, Van Shields, who is retiring after seven years in the position.

At 68 years old, Shields has been under constant scrutiny for his leadership role in the museum's decision to sell off 40 pieces of art to raise up to $60 million to help solidify it's future. The debate over the auctions and private sales were highly debated and protested, but an agreement between and the Office of the Attorney General was eventually approved by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

We are grateful for Van's leadership and vision, especially through a challenging time.  Van helped chart a course to secure the museum's future, true to our mission and responsible to our community. We wish our friend well in his retirement.

Elizabeth McGraw, President of the museum's Board of Trustees

via MassLive

Before his position with the Pittsfield museum, Shields was the head of the Culture and Heritage Museums in Rock Hill, South Carolina, where he was in charge of a failed launch of a $60 million museum.

 David Ellis will be named interim executive director as the museum a nationwide search to find a replacement, according to the Berkshire Museum's Board of Directors.