A student studying colorful works of art hanging in the Guildhall Art Gallery in London, UK
It may appear that the Louvre, the Met, the Tate, and MoMAs have every piece of art in their collections hanging on their expansive walls. Surprisingly, most of the holdings of the world’s art museums are held in temperature-controlled, darkened, and painstakingly organized storage vaults.
A few examples illustrate the point. The percentage of permanent collections on display in major museums are as follows:
- The Tate Britain: 20%
- The Louvre: 8%
- The Guggenheim: 3%
- Berlinische Galerie: 2%
What if all the art in storage was available to everyone?
Chalk it up to humankind's artistic accomplishments, but there is a wealth of art and expression of creativity in our world. There is just not enough space for it all to be exhibited—even if it’s put up frame to frame.
Additionally, many pieces are too fragile for exhibition due to their sensitivity to light and other environmental hazards.
Scholars and curators agree the art collections in museums are important not just for our enjoyment, but for the sustainability of memory. These collections ensure future generations will have access to the knowledge and wisdom of the past, and because of that, a great deal of that art has been carefully stored and kept safe.
However, the experience of the pandemic has put museums at risk. Museums were closed down, rendering them unable to maintain traditional revenue streams: tickets, memberships, programming, and educational events, venue rentals, and museum shop sales. Yet, many of the operational expenses remained.
Storing art in a climate-controlled environment is one of the museum’s largest expenses, and it is absolutely necessary to its mission. However, museums have, to date, not been offset with revenue to sustain these stored collections. With a lack of traditional revenues, many museums are now considering options for creating experiences with these collections in storage, while also creating revenue streams to pay for them.
Three paintings hanging in a museum
Galoo was created to help museums achieve these goals!
Galoo does this by providing a space for museums to create virtual galleries to display these collections while allowing them to educate a global audience on their importance.
Museums can monetize the digital experience which creates additional revenue streams, thereby meeting several objectives many museums have set for themselves: sustainability of the museum itself and maintenance of the art for future generations.
Curators are already offering behind-the-vault tours of certain items through Zoom and other similar platforms which gives scholars a different perspective on pieces they choose from catalogs.
A crowd of people viewing art inside the Sackler Room at the British Museum
The curatory work involved in producing this experience over and over is massive. By using Galoo, however, a digital twin of the temporary exhibit of the art from storage only has to be created once by displaying the art in a gallery and scanning it.
The immersive experience can then be created in Galoo and monetized, and the art in storage can perpetually pay its own rent in the protected vaults.
Imagine the possibility of students and thinkers all over the world having access to the 90% of art that up until now no one ever had the opportunity to see. Take the priceless oeuvre of Egon Schiele: all 435 paintings and sketches are in storage and inaccessible to scholars.
The pieces are fragile and controversial, so they are generally considered inappropriate for exhibition in a public gallery. Yet the artistic merit and importance are without question, and the work could be presented to scholars worldwide in a way that goes beyond the slide or photograph.
Curators have historically offered behind-the-scenes access to stored art, but this is expensive and exclusive to scholars who are able to travel to these locations to see a certain piece of work.
Galoo’s platform can be used to fully support our invaluable institutions and the cultural heritage within them even if visits to see art in person become limited or non-existent.
Scanning art in storage and making those scans available to the general public with online ticket sales through Galoo’s platform could ensure that our art is safe and sustained for generations to come.
If you’re interested in how Galoo works, we’re always thrilled to show you a demo.