After running Detroit's Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History for four years, Kimberly Camp, 42, said she was "up for a challenge."

She took over the Barnes Foundation.

At the time - 1998 - the Barnes was engaged in acrimonious legal battles with local officials and equally fierce feuding with its immediate neighbors on Latchs Lane in Merion. There were allegations of racial bias, suits and counter-suits court hearings, zoning disputes - bitterness aplenty.

If that wasn't enough, from 1997 to 2000 the Barnes racked up a deficit of more than $5 million; the last $5 million of its endowment had been converted to cash.

When she arrived, Camp discovered that art in the collections was missing or unaccounted for; that no plausible inventory existed of the Barnes' roughly 1,000 artworks; that there was no security system at the foundation's Chester County property, Ker-Feal; that no development or fund-raising plan was in place. That was just for starters.

Camp began raising money, garnering a handful of grants in the $500,000 range. But no area philanthropy - the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Lenfest or Annenberg foundations - would contribute substantial funds.

In 2002, led by board chairman Bernard Watson, the Barnes unveiled a philanthropy-backed plan to move to Philadelphia. Pew and its deep-pocketed brethren said the city offered a more congenial funding environment.

"Foundations have said they would be unwilling to fund the Barnes in Merion," Camp told The Inquirer in 2004. "And you can't make people give you money."

In a recent interview, Camp, who resigned effective in 2006, said the move should reenergize the Barnes educational programs. Beyond that, she added that hostility from Merion officials and neighbors created an impossible environment for gallery operations to continue there.