John Dobkin, who has been active in the museum world for 30 years, first as director of the National Academy of Design in New York City and now as vice president of Wilderstein, a Victorian house museum in Rhinebeck, N.Y., said the Wilderstein board has “discussed the restructuring of the annual fund-raising party, in order to minimize the expenses and maximize the profit.”
“It’s somehow considered kind of gauche now to be too aggressive about the décor, and the price, of galas,” he said. “Rather than a seven-piece combo, what about a D.J.? Rather than filet mignon, country food: shepherd’s pie. Rather than have the extravagance, what’s better than chicken pot pie?” Wilderstein’s big fund-raiser this year will be a tea dance with light fare, as opposed to a full, costly dinner.