Museums are incredible institutions that hold vast amounts of history and artifacts, many of which we can learn from and admire. They are also a great way to spend your time as you explore new things and grow as a person by exploring different cultures and eras.
Getting an exhibit into a museum is not easy — it requires lots of hard work and networking! But it’s totally worth it because this article will tell you all the secrets to getting your artwork or product featured at a major museum like The Metropolitan Museum of Art or The Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian National Design Museum.
Don’t worry – this isn’t going up against Harry Houdini for a $100,000 prize (although he was famous for his talent)! This article is more modest than that. We’ll go over some helpful tips and tricks that may cost you just a few dollars or even free.
We’ll talk about how to get your artwork displayed at the Met, one of the largest museums in America with almost 6 million visitors per year. Or how to get feature articles published in high profile design magazines such as Domino, Print Magazine, and Materialize, where they invite guests to contribute creatively.
This article is designed to be read quickly, so there will be no long paragraphs nor fluff. I will, however, include important points to make sure you understand what matters most when investing in marketing art and designing for companies.
Apply for a museum exhibit
Many museums have open call exhibitions or events where they invite artists, designers or creative professionals to present their work. These are usually by invitation only so you must apply to be considered!
Museums are constantly seeking new ways to show off their collection and expose it to new audiences. They’ll probably look at your application including links to examples of your work and some type of summary about why you would make a good fit for their exhibition.
If accepted, you will need to coordinate all the logistics like payment methods, transport and accommodation, as well as the timing (the show is typically one week long). While most museums offer free entry during their opening hours, there may be additional fees for attending the event.
Some people choose to receive partial compensation for their time, but it totally depends on the artist and the organization that sponsors the event.
Prepare your exhibit
After you have selected a museum, it is time to start preparing your new exhibition! The first thing you will need to do is make sure that you have all of your supplies ready. You should already know what materials you will use for your display, so this can be done ahead of time.
Make sure to check out the museum’s website or call them directly to see if there are any special rules or regulations for exhibiting works. Some museums require you to put up a sign with information about your work while others may ask you to include a card or note about yourself.
By being prepared, you will not have to worry about running out of anything! Also, most museums allow you to bring your own equipment, which helps free up money to buy more materialist things.
Choose your space
Choosing a space is a key part of getting your exhibit ready for placement in a museum. You want to make sure you pick a stable, safe area that will receive little traffic while it’s up.
You also want to be sure the space has adequate ventilation and power sources, as well as easy access to water and waste disposal. A good place to look for these things are nearby trash bins or rest rooms.
If possible, you should check out the museum ahead of time to see if there are any pictures or descriptions of areas people have used as exhibits.
Blog post: How to Get Funding For An Exhibition
Bullet point: Ask your friends
Direct donation websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo allow you to create an account free of cost, and then you can start gathering money.
By having direct contacts who may know of appropriate donors, this is a more effective approach than trying to find general online resources for fund-raising.
Work with a curator
As we already mentioned, working as an artist is a tough job. There are no clear guidelines for what you should be doing next or how to get through this stage of your career.
Most museums have curators who manage their department. These departments typically include things like painting, sculpture, photography, illustration, etc. The curator has enough knowledge about his/her field to know if something is needed at the museum and where it can be displayed.
They also may need to find new ways to display or exhibit an item, so they’d look into other similar items or even create new ones.
Their goal is to give the artwork a good home and show off its beauty to others. They take care of making sure it will stay protected and displayed properly.
The next step is buying admission or entry tickets to the museum. This can be done through their website, through a third-party vendor like TicketStub, or at a venue directly with the staff there!
Some museums offer special ticket offers or discounts if you are already a member of their organization or have attended previous events.
They may also hold open calls for applications where you can apply to become a volunteer at the museum so that you can earn credit for entrance passes.
Plan your event
Next, you need to plan your event! This can be tricky because not every museum allows people to hand out materials or hold events there. Some do, but most do not.
Most museums have a policy about events. Make sure you are aware of their policies before planning yours.
Some examples of events that are allowed at museums include art exhibits, educational programs, book signings, etc. Activities like these are totally fine, it is just made clear what kind of events they allow in the museum’s regulations.
So, make sure you know if events are permitted before you even begin thinking about hosting one.
Publish your exhibit
After you have completed all of your research, gathered all of your materials, and curated your show, it’s time to publish your exhibition!
Before you do that, you need to make sure that you are able to get access to the museum where you want to display your work. You will most likely be required to confirm your identity, pay any additional fees for displaying artwork or having events at the space, as well as verify that you will be responsible for cleaning up after yourself and protecting the museum from potential damage or trashes.
Once you are allowed entry into the museum, you can start promoting your new exhibition!
Some museums may offer free public viewing days or event weeks to promote your exhibition, so make sure to look out for these to gain some extra exposure for your project!
There are several ways to spread the word about your exhibition, including social media, printed material like flyers and posters, and talking to local news sources about it.
Tell everyone about the exhibit
After you have done some research, gathered some materials, and determined it is time to bring your exhibition to a new place, the next step is to tell people!
Posting announcements online or putting up posters will not only get the word out, but it will also help spread interest in your exhibition. Social media is a great way to do this as it can be interactive and create conversations around your topic.
By having interactions with others, you will gather even more information and inspiration for your own art projects.