Non-profit Art Venues' Online Exhibits Research and Advocacy Project
TFAO advocates that museums place -- and keep -- as much information as possible in their website postings of future, current and past exhibits. For each exhibit, information may include images, a description, artist statement, curator statement, plus links to a press release, media coverage, gallery tour or artist interview videos, teacher guide, wall texts, object labels, check list, brochure and more. Students, teachers, curators and others may find this information useful many years into the future.
Many museums create a page for each exhibit which is transferred from the future exhibits section, to the current exhibits section, and finally to the past exhibits section. Some museums add added information to an exhibit page when new information becomes available while the exhibit is on display.
However, some other museums delete some or all previously posted information once the exhibit has ended. This is unfortunate because little effort is needed to retain the information. We hope that eventually all museums will archive all exhibit information placed on their websites.
Letters to museums advocating rich content in exhibit descriptions
As a part of the project, TFAO identified certain museums at A-C D-G H-L M-Q R-S T-Z with the tag: "limited descriptions of past exhibits." TFAO invites individuals to send advocacy letters by email to these tagged museums. The subject line for the letter may say:
and the text of the letter may say:
and the signature the letter will be:
We encourage writers to alter the suggested text if they wish to personalize it. For privacy protection, a volunteer may wish to set up a separate email account for the project.
TFAO and each volunteer should agree up front on the institutions the volunteer will contact to avoid duplication of effort. We recommend that volunteers only use email addresses publicly posted in museum websites in preparing letters, even though writers are not representing TFAO.
We ask that each letter have a bcc to TFAO. TFAO will tag each letter entry at A-C D-G H-L M-Q R-S T-Z with a note saying: "(date of letter) rich content letter." This will signify that the museum need not be reached by another person.
Who should volunteer?
Artists, authors, students and other art-loving individuals may volunteer for the project.
Satisfaction will be found in helping educators and institutions better serve their publics.
Acknowledgment of service hours will be provided to students.
Equipment and software
Volunteers can use a laptop or desktop computer allowing multiple windows to be open at the same time for note, browser and email programs. The letter text and subject templates are available on a note window for copying. A browser window contains available email addresses from a museum's website. Each outgoing email is processed in a separate email window by pasting of the letter body and subject, and entering an email address. Also, a tablet device can be used by toggling between a note window containing the subject and letter templates, a browser window showing an email address in the museum's website, and an email window to merge the email address and the body of the letter.
Beginning in 2014, TFAO began studying museum coverage of prior exhibits. Through TFAO's research, if prior exhibits were found for a museum during a museum's "looked back thru" study period stated in the (A-C D-G H-L M-Q R-S T-Z) Calendar Update Schedule that were not covered in Resource Library's articles and essays -- yet qualified for coverage in Topics in American Art -- the exhibits were entered into the appropriate Topic. Some "looked back thru" study periods state that the review covered the time period from the beginning of a museum's listing of past exhibits to the "looked back thru" study date. Other "looked back thru" study periods are from the date of a prior study period to the most recent period. The "looked back thru" study periods generally end at December, 2016 because starting in 2017 all of a museum's exhibits, based on its study status, were being researched for inclusion in Topics in American Art.
Update of present "looked back thru" notations
For museums listed within the (A-C D-G H-L M-Q R-S T-Z) Calendar Update Schedule with current "looked back thru" tags and without "limited descriptions of past exhibits" or "no permanent URLs for exhibits" tags, TFAO will look back from the date of the last review through 12/16 for openings of exhibits that qualify for inclusion in Topics in American Art. After 12/16, the National Calendar of Art Exhibitions listed all exhibits subject to research and published the resolution of research.
For "looked back thru" reviews last completed prior to 10/16, TFAO will:
For "looked back thru" reviews last completed 10/16 to 12/16, check only Topics in American Art for exhibits opening after the review.
After the above research is completed, those exhibits that qualify for inclusion in Topics in American Art will be added to the appropriate topic. Each revised National Calendar of Exhibitions entry will say, e.g., "(study date) looked back through 12/16"
As of 8/18, all museums in this category have been studied.
Museums without "looked back thru" notations
After the above museums with present "looked back thru" notations are updated, TFAO will study other museums without "limited descriptions of past exhibits" or "no permanent URLs for exhibits" tags. TFAO will study exhibits dating back to the beginning of the past exhibits section of museum websites and add information on qualified exhibits to the appropriate topic within Topics in American Art.
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Links to sources of information outside of our web site are provided only as referrals for your further consideration. Please use due diligence in judging the quality of information contained in these and all other web sites. Information from linked sources may be inaccurate or out of date. TFAO neither recommends or endorses these referenced organizations. Although TFAO includes links to other web sites, it takes no responsibility for the content or information contained on those other sites, nor exerts any editorial or other control over them. For more information on evaluating web pages see TFAO's General Resources section in Online Resources for Collectors and Students of Art History.
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