95% Invisible: The Art of Storage

This year’s Museum and Curatorial Studies practicum exhibition considered practices of art storage, ranging from storing art in nuclear waste facilities, to hoarding, to Geneva Free Ports. For the first time, we made use of augmented reality in the exhibition space.

For the exhibition website go here.

To see more images of the opening night go here.

We also brought a shipping container into the exhibition space!

Nic 1

image by Nichola Côté



opening night images by Kim Neudorf

Exhibition Description:

On average, more than 95% of objects held by museums are in storage rather than on display. Behind the scenes, objects and artworks are carefully packed, stored, and archived using increasingly sophisticated techniques. Even so, space is an issue, and many collections have to be stored off site in “deep” or “dead” storage. Due to the cost of real estate and security in city centres, such facilities are often remote, and occasionally collections are held in unexpected places, including in disused salt mines and old armaments factories.


So too, as private art collectors have amassed huge collections, storage facilities have sprung up in unmarked buildings in low income neighbourhoods, in nuclear waste facilities, and in “freeports,” or tax-free storage facilities in extra-national zones. In short, most of the best collections of art and artefacts are out of sight, in secret museums that cannot be visited and are totally out of access to the public.


In this exhibition, we explore these issues. Here too, however, much of the information is out of sight, in storage. Use our augmented reality app to rummage through the drawers of the archive, and to explore and learn what happens to art when it is not on display.

About Kirsty Robertson

Kirsty Robertson is Associate Professor of contemporary art and Director of museum and curatorial studies at Western University, Canada.
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