Curator’s Corner – January 2019

Art for Everyone

Museums and art galleries are both important for seeing and appreciating art but are also quite different when examined more closely. Our community is fortunate to have both and has a treasure in the Appleton Museum of Art.

One of the primary missions of a museum is to collect, preserve and protect the best art it can to the best of its ability, forever. The American Alliance of Museums has established standards for storage, care and display of artwork to become AAM accredited. This is an important designation that the Appleton shares with such renowned museums as the Smithsonian, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other prestigious institutions. Because the Appleton team complies with stringent regulations on humidity, lighting and temperature levels, other museums allow us to borrow extraordinary works of art knowing they can trust us to properly care for their pieces.

Another distinction is that museums do not sell the art on exhibit; it goes against a museum’s mission of collecting, protecting and preserving the world’s treasures for future generations.

Museums also differ in that artworks and artists are painstakingly researched by art historians in order to present the most accurate, fact-based information to the public. This supports a museum’s mission of education.

Commercial art galleries are businesses and are not required to follow the same rules as museums. Because the aim of a commercial gallery is to display and sell art, not to permanently collect and house it, museum standards—such as maintaining humidity levels, temperatures, etc.—are unnecessary. The constant ebb and flow of art in a gallery due to sales allows for quicker turnaround between shows. Although some commercial galleries like to educate, there are no mandates that they do so and it is not required that their staff be art historians. One of the truly special things about commercial galleries is that they provide important and meaningful works of art that the public can purchase and admire in their own homes or businesses. 

Museums and galleries both fill important rolls in the art world and exhibit art for everyone to enjoy. I encourage you to stop by the Appleton to view our treasures and then visit one of our local galleries to buy artwork you can enjoy at home.

Learn more › Appleton Museum of Art › 4333 E Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala › appletonmuseum.org › (352) 291-4455

A former professional archaeologist, Patricia Tomlinson joined the Appleton Museum of Art as Curator of Exhibitions in 2016 after having served as curatorial staff in the New World Department at the Denver Art Museum for eight years where she published on Spanish Colonial and pre-Columbian art and curated exhibitions which drew from the Denver Art Museum’s extensive collection.

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