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One of the most stringent aspects of the code of conduct followed by art museums in the United States is that they’re not supposed to sell pieces from their collections to solve financial problems. The one exception, traditionally, is if proceeds go toward enhancing the larger collection. Art, in other words, can pay for more art, but pretty much nothing else. But as is the cases with so many different aspects of society, the coronavirus pandemic is changing that, at least temporarily, CBS This Morning reports.

With museums across the country completely shut down or struggling amid a lack of visitors because of the virus, Brent Benjamin, the president of the Association of Art Museum Directors, said the goal is to allow member organizations a “little more financial flexibility.” For the next two years, the museum says it won’t punish members that use art sales to pay for “the care of the collection.” The institutions themselves will have final say as to what exactly that means.

So far, Nina del Rio, vice chair at Sotheby’s, told CBS she hasn’t seen any museums use the rule change to launch a fire sale. On the contrary, she said, museum leaders are making thoughtful decisions about how to best preserve their institutions. Tim O’Donnell

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