Activity 20: Start a Museum Collection

By now you’ve developed a taste for what kind of art you enjoy. Maybe you have found that you love certain colors, textures, or mediums that you never saw before you took this class. This is your opportunity to create your ideal Museum Collection. Think about what theme you would like your artworks to express. You can pick a subject such as “water”, rhythm, or an element or principle of art and design to explore in your collection. Or perhaps you are creating a counter-narrative through your collection. Think about why you would like to group these artworks together for those visiting your virtual museum.

Start by thinking about the role of a Museum Curator. Most museums want to tell a story to their audience. What story will you tell? How will your artworks reveal that story?

Explore museum collections online using links your instructor provides or through these links below:

(Each of these places are discussed in chapter 12 of your textbook.)

Additionally, you can explore artworks through Google Arts & Culture. This website allows you to search by color, theme, medium, material, era, style, museum, location, etc.

As you look through images online, think about how the artworks are grouped together and categorized. Consider how you will categorize your artworks for your collection. Are you contributing to a category that already exists, such as “American Art” or Sculpture, or are you starting to create your own category?

As you start to collect your images, begin to write a narrative that describes how each artwork fits together and how your audience might move through your collection. Which artwork will we see first? Which will we end with? Follow the activity below for more detailed instruction.

Overview and Objectives:

You are a new curator and you’re writing a description for the next exhibit at your museum. Your pitch will focus on five images from other art collections (that you’ve previously viewed online) that you will want to bring in for this exhibit.

Within your description:

  • Identify the basic information about the work
  • Compare and contrast the formal elements
    • What are the most prominent formal elements in these artworks?
  • Compare and contrast the principles of design
    • What are the most prominent formal elements in these artworks?
  • Compare and contrast the mediums and materials
  • Compare and contrast the style and techniques of each piece
  • Identify the common theme throughout all the artworks when viewed as a whole. Consider placement of the artworks. How will each artwork express a similar, yet different idea from the next one? Remember that curators often think of the entire experience and arrangement of artworks.