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Visible storage

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Visible storage in the porcelain galleries, Victoria & Albert Museum.
Motorcycle stack display at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum.

Visible storage is a method of maximising public access to museum and art collections that would otherwise be hidden from public view. Many museums and galleries have over 90% of their collections in storage at any one time and the technique has been widely adopted recently by institutions ranging from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, to London's Victoria & Albert Museum as well as in many smaller collections.

Visible storage cases tend to be densely packed and with less explanatory material than in conventional displays. In addition, they may exceed head height making smaller objects difficult to see. The cases are often located in spaces that were previously unused or unsuitable for conventional display cases. The cases may be curving, cylindrical, packed closely together or positioned down the centre of existing galleries.

Claimants to have originated the idea include the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia in the 1970s and the Strong Museum in Rochester, in 1982.[1] The Metropolitan Museum of Art was one of the first large institutions to use visible storage when it created the Henry R. Luce Center for the Study of American Art in 1988[2] and the Victoria & Albert Museum has recently adopted the idea in their ceramics galleries.[3]


  1. ^ Museums as Walk-In Closets; Visible Storage Opens Troves to the Public by Celestine Bohlen in The New York Times, 8 May 2001. Retrieved 21 December 2013. Archived December 22, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ LACMA, Broad, other art museums work to put storage on display by Jori Finkel in The Los Angeles Times, 20 July 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  3. ^ Transforming the Ceramics galleries: an exercise in restraint by Victoria Oakley & Fi Jordan in Conservation Journal, Spring 2009, Issue 57. Victoria & Albert Museum, 2009. Retrieved 22 December 2013. Archived December 22, 2013, at the Wayback Machine