The Mason Beekley Collection of skiing art and photography is looking for a new home.
“When one door closes, another opens,” said Nat Messina, an attorney and director for the Beekley Family Foundation. The Foundation learned in mid-September, 2009, that the $5 million collection can no longer be housed at the Mammoth Mountain Ski Museum.
“The collection has a lot of potential for anyone who is willing to fully utilize it,” says Messina, who adds that only about 5 percent was on display in Mammoth at any one time.
The Beekley Foundation is looking for an organization that would provide or build a suitable museum; keep the collection whole and intact; ensure that it’s properly managed by a curator or librarian; and offer public visitation as well as access for ski historical research people. An organization in a resort or ski town that draws visitors looking for a cultural experience, and that is committed to promoting the collection, would be an ideal fit, Messina says. In the right environment, the collection can attract additional guests and provide a compelling environment for fundraisers and other events, Messina says.
The collection contains 200 exquisite paintings and sculptures of skiers; 600 posters, some of which now auction for as much as $10,000; magazine covers dating back to the 19th century; unique etchings and lithographs; 2,400 ski pins and stamps; and one of the world’s largest libraries of ski books. Beekley, who died in 2001, was a successful entrepreneur and founder of the International Skiing History Association. He painstakingly and lovingly assembled ski books and graphics over a half-century of collecting’ a history lover could easily spend a week perusing its treasures. “In collecting art,” Beekley once said, “my two criteria are: there must be a skier in the illustration and I must like it.”
For more information on the collection, contact Messina at 860-240-6027 or email nmessina @ murthalaw.com.
Here are samples of paintings from the Beekley Collection.