Interesting Facts about Museum Storage Facilities

Less than 10% of museum artworks are on display at any given time. Would you like to know why and see some statistics? Would you like to visit museum storage facilities? You will be surprised by the insights into global museum storage facilites.

A study conducted by Quartz based on data from 20 museums in 7 countries summarizes the current situation: Most works of popular impressionist masters like Paul Cézanne and Claude Monet are usually on display in museums. Also Pablo Picasso is mostly on display and not in storage.

© Ula Kuzma

Famous and Hidden Artworks 

Museums do own so many artworks that even artworks by Mark Rothko, Jeff Koons, Egon Schiele or Georgia O‘Keeffe are mostly in storage. Results from other surveys with structured methodology point out names such as Ed Ruscha, Joan Miró, Anish Kapoor or Anselm Kiefer with a lot of artworks in huge museum warehouses.

If you talk to museum curators and exhibition experts about which percentage of a museum collection is usually on display at any given time, you will get single digit percentage numbers between 3% and 7%.

Exceptions to the rule are Museums like the Tate with 20% or the Whitney Museum with 10%. However, the other side are the Berlinische Galerie with only 2% or the Albertina with less than 1% on public display.