Many people are familiar with art museums as institutions that have large collections of paintings, sculptures, and other artwork. But what many don’t know is that every piece in a museum’s collection was selected for exhibition not only because it is beautiful, but also because it directly contributes to the mission of the institution.
The Victoria & Albert Museum in London, for example, doesn’t collect just one type of object like most museums. It collects anything and everything from ancient artifacts to modern-day design pieces.
But its focus isn’t simply “beauty” — instead, it aims to showcase how creativity takes over all areas of life, from architecture to fashion to science. By emphasizing this concept, the V&A encourages visitors to look at the world around them with an eye towards creative innovation.
This article will discuss some important factors in choosing which works to include in a given exhibition, as well as some tips for photographers who want to use museum exhibitions as backdrops or settings.
Museums look at their current collection
A museum’s curatorial staff looks through its existing collections to find new pieces to include in an exhibition. These might be completely unrelated items that go well together, or they could be paintings of similar style, or even pictures of the same object photographed from different angles.
The curator will also research material about the exhibition’t topic to determine if there are any important artifacts or other evidence related to it. For example, when organizing An Exhibition About Love, the curators researched various types of love (romantic, familial, friendship, etc.).
They considered whether there were any significant examples of each type of love in the collection, and whether there were any powerful images or stories associated with them.
Museums look at their audience
As we mentioned earlier, how an organization chooses what to display in its collection is very dependent on who they are trying to reach. For example, if a museum wants to appeal to children, it will not include works that feature scary monsters or vivid colors.
The same goes for museums that want to draw attention to themselves by emphasizing how rich and powerful they are. A child’s eye can easily see through such displays, making them less appealing than ones that emphasize artistic quality.
Museums that strive to inspire awe of nature may choose to avoid representing human beings. Artists of all eras have inspired people with their use of color, form, and composition, so there’s no reason to exclude this!
When choosing which art to exhibit, your average person probably doesn’t need to know too much about styles and techniques. They maybe don’t even have to understand why certain artists are famous. All they really care about is whether something looks cool, and sometimes that’s enough!
However, for someone who loves art, these things matter. An experienced admirer might be able to tell when something is well done, but casual viewers often do not. By including examples that show off both classic and contemporary styles, you’re giving everyone some value. You’ll also help prevent art thieves by narrowing the target market.
Museums research their audience
For example, some museums will ask themselves whether or not there is enough interest in an artwork about how to use it effectively as educational material. If so, then that will get prioritized for exhibition!
Some artists even create new works specifically to be put into this context later on. This way, they are giving away part of their work in order to promote it!
Artists’ intentions go beyond just creating beautiful art too; sometimes they want people to look at their work from a different angle, to inspire new ideas, or educate others.
Museums choose exhibitions based on their theme
Many museums decide what to show through their exhibition themes, such as “Beauty in Color” or “Nature Inspired Art.” They make sure to include all of the necessary components of each exhibition style in this process.
By including these components, they are ensuring that their visitors will know how to identify and appreciate the art styles presented in the exhibition.
The artists and designers in the exhibition must be known for their work, so museums research their biographies and see if there is anything significant about their lives or career paths.
They also look at any awards or achievements the artist received during their career, which boosts the artist’s reputation and prestige. A famous person who has done very well for themselves usually don’t just give away their hard-earned money, so evidence of success is taken into account when determining whether to invite them to join the museum team.
Museums choose exhibitions based on their donor or sponsor
Many museums are made possible through generous donations- either an individual, organization, or both. As such, donating to a museum comes with new opportunities for exposure.
Most large universities have at least one art department that offers students the opportunity to study art. Students can pick which courses they want to take advantage of by voting with their dollars and studying something they enjoy!
Some students may even get extra help paying for school due to donation rewards programs. The student winners get a scholarship or paid experience in exchange for supporting the institution.
It is important to make sure your child enjoys learning about art before asking them to contribute to a charity or educational program. Make sure it is clear what kind of lessons the curriculum will cover.
By having these sources of income, museums are able to increase their exhibition content and showcase more artists’ work. They also have resources to improve the education given to students.
Museums choose exhibitions based on the time of year
Most museums will decide what to show you depending on when they are. The season is a big factor in this. During winter, for example, people tend to stay warm and cozy at home so there is less of an incentive to visit art galleries or museums.
In spring and summer, however, people enjoy being outside more so that motivation to go to a museum has increased. Therefore, during these times of the year, it is easier to find yourself looking through your phone instead of engaging with art.
Summer is also often considered the peak tourist season for any given city because hotels and tourism increase due to the influx of travelers seeking out experiences. This makes it even harder to motivate individuals to visit an art gallery or museum.
Autumn and winter are probably the most difficult seasons for exhibition choices as mentioned before. Fewer people are present which makes it hard to crowdfund new exhibits or to promote them.
Museums choose exhibitions based on the location
As we know, museums are not free to put up new displays willy-nilly. They must be funded through donations or the sale of merchandise or exhibits.
Donations come in many forms, but most commonly they consist of money given for specific programs — such as humanitarian aid or educational opportunities.
General donations can also make an important difference by letting the museum use the space for exhibition or fundraising.
Artists and collectors often give away their work to help promote it and increase its value.
Many large charities have art collection development officers that look into whether donating works is within budget and if so, how to best organize and showcase them!
What about copyright? Most major charity organizations get permission from artists to use their work royalty free.
Museums choose exhibitions based on the artist
As we know, artists create beautiful works of art that are made famous by their incredible artistic talent. Artists use different mediums to express themselves, including painting, sculpture, drawing, and more.
Some people may not recognize some of these media as being “artistic” but that’s because they were never trained in them! For example, anyone can put pen to paper and write down what they feel or want to say, which is why writing is such an integral part of art.
Writers are given awards for creating stories using prose, so it makes sense that those with paintings that focus on narrative could be considered creative writers.