Museum Collections: Considering Access & Transparency through Visible Storage

In recent years, museums have increasingly turned to “open storage” techniques to display parts of their collection which would otherwise not be on public view.  The foundations for this decades-long trend are found in the impulse to democratize museums with “visible” storage being touted as one way to make collections more accessible to their communities.

In this conversation on open and visible storage in museums, we will be guided by Susan Rowley and Bridget Callahan in an exploration of the history of “visible” collections storage and how technology and new considerations of democratized access have changed the design and use of museum holdings.  Ethics, equity, standards of care, and programming will also be addressed.

  • Susan Rowley – Director, Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada)
  • Bridget Callahan – Coordinator, Luce Foundation Center Program, Smithsonian Institution (Washington, D.C.)