Traditional museum exhibits are only able to display a small portion of a museum’s collection. The Great Collections Experiment explores new ways of displaying and sharing more of the amazing, priceless and sometimes quirky objects in our vast collection. While exhibits usually tell a story about an event or a time period, these new galleries focus on displaying beautiful and intriguing objects and leave the storytelling up to you.
In Gallery One, an avocado Frigidaire shares the stage with a black cast iron cook stove from the 1840s, a circa 1920 nickel-plated waffle iron made by Westinghouse, and roughly 1,000 other kitchen items from the last two centuries. Let your curiosity be your guide—explore our domestic-life objects, and see how kitchens and the things we use in them have changed over time.
In Gallery Two, a homespun needlepoint sampler from the early 1800s is showcased alongside a Chippendale chest of drawers from the mid-1700s, a ceramic bowl made by the Mississippian culture between 1200 -1400, and hundreds of other handcrafted items. Discover form, function and decoration while exploring our decorative arts collection, including glass, ceramics, textiles and furniture, and imagine what it took to create these objects.
Gallery Three explores how we organize all of the “stuff”; from material type to zoological classification. Learn more about how our curators make sense of our vast and varied collection!