One of the most frequently asked questions about art museums is “What makes a museum great?” There are many different ways to answer this question. We could talk about how a great museum attracts famous works of art and how these pieces are displayed. We could discuss the importance of the collection, whether it be old masters or modern art, and what it is that makes their collections so powerful and important.
The best way to answer this question, however, is with examples. There are many museums that have been said to be great, but few things are more subjective than greatness. Many museums have been lauded for their architecture, only to fall out of favor as time goes on and tastes change. There are also certain elements that are common among all great art museums. These elements may not be what make a museum great, but they are certainly what contribute to making any museum worth visiting time and time again:
The most important thing that any gallery can possess is an expert staff (this may seem obvious but it is a very important point). The staff in charge of designing the exhibitions has to be knowledgeable about the items in their care and about the artists who created them. They need to know how to showcase these items in such a way that will bring them to life for the viewers and
A few months ago, I wrote a post about my favorite art museum, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The response was overwhelming, and I got many comments asking me to write more about my other favorite museums. So here is part two of my series on great art museums.
Tate Modern is my favorite modern art museum. Tate Modern was originally a power station built in the 1950s but has been renovated into a modern masterpiece. As a power station, the building had huge windows that allowed for abundant natural light and all of those windows have been retained in its new use, so it has this wonderful sense of openness and brightness. This is especially important when you’re viewing so much large-scale artwork like at Tate Modern.
There are 7 main galleries at Tate Modern (called Turbine Hall, Tanks, Storr, Boiler House, Bridge, Lift and Clock), with smaller ones scattered around them (such as the Project Space). The main galleries have different themes such as ‘Contemporary Women Artists’ or ‘Art of the 21st Century,’ which means that you can enjoy not only contemporary global artworks but also nice pieces from eras dating back to 18th century. In addition to the main galleries, there are 2
The Museum of Modern Art in New York City is one of the greatest art museums in the world. It has inspired countless artists and designers, and it was founded by a woman, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, who was a major collector of modern art. At first glance, the museum is notable for its collection and its building, but there are many other aspects that also make it great.
Tattoos have been an important part of human culture since the beginning of time. The earliest evidence of tattoos dates back to 5000 BC when they were first depicted on ancient Egyptian mummies. In many societies, tattoos were used to show social status or religious affiliation; however, among Native Americans they were used for medicinal purposes as well as for decoration.
The museum is a great place to visit, but it’s important to note that the art in general isn’t all that good. In fact, I would say that the quality of the art is just about average for a museum.
It’s the curation that makes this museum stand out above others. The paintings are hung beautifully and there’s a definite sense of flow through the museum and through each room.
You can tell that they have paid careful attention to the environment in which people will be viewing the art and have made it as comfortable as possible.
1. Bad art. Art museums are not great because they have good art. They have good art because they’re great. A great museum both collects and exhibits the best of what is being made, and also makes new things– it creates a new canon. In this way, it becomes a cultural force in and of itself. This process is what gives birth to great works of art and pulls them into the canon. As the museum’s reputation grows, so does the market for its artists, which helps create even more great art.
2. The promise of more to come. Great museums give you a lot for your money: education programs, events, lectures, concerts, libraries– all these things require staff and space to operate. Great museums are economic engines that drive growth in their cities: they bring in tourists and increase property values while adding to the quality of life for citizens who live nearby.* To do this well requires an exceptional organizational structure that can support both top-down strategic planning as well as bottom-up innovation and improvisation.*
3. A sense of history*. Great museums not only collect but study their collections: analysis of objects helps identify new trends in art, which drives the creation of new work by artists in turn (see 1).** A museum
Many people who visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City comment on the fact that it’s laid out like a maze. This is because initial architect Richard Morris Hunt wanted the museum to be an educational institution, and also because he designed it to be a space that could display many different types of art in an interesting way. But making it a maze has also led to many visitors becoming lost within the museum’s walls.
The museum is divided into wings, or departments, such as European Art, Ancient Near East, Sculpture, Medieval Art, and so on. The department names are highly visible on the walls throughout the museum to help visitors orient themselves. A visitor can easily know which department they’re in if they’re looking for something in particular. But this also leads to much confusion if someone is just wandering around without a clear destination in mind, especially since some of the department names change as you move from one floor to another.
For example, when you enter the first floor of the museum from Fifth Avenue through its iconic rotunda, you will find yourself in what seems like a large foyer filled with stores and restaurants. You will also find yourself in Medieval Sculpture. When you go up to the second floor of the museum, however