A Wall Street Journal article today says museums around the country are worried about what could be a trend of collectors building their own museums rather than donating them to public museums. Alice Walton’s Crystal Bridges is cited as an example.

” ‘Museum directors are having some sleepless nights,” says Elizabeth Ellis, a principal at AEA Consulting, an arts-consulting firm. “The rise of private museums is causing a lot of fear and anxiety.’

“Alice Walton, the heiress to the Wal-Mart fortune, is spending $150 million to build Crystal Bridges, a museum of American art in Bentonville, Ark. The 100,000-square-foot complex, designed by star architect Moshe Safdie, will be bigger than many major museums when it opens in 2010. Three months ago, Glenn Fuhrman, co-managing partner of MSD Capital, launched an exhibition space in New York to showcase his contemporary art collection. Don Fisher, the billionaire founder of Gap, plans to open his own contemporary art museum in San Francisco in 2011.”

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