close up shot of Vincent van Gogh's "Les Vessenots" in Auvres at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza

Make time on September 16, 2015 for #AskACurator Day

Those of you who have been following museums on Twitter for a while might remember that September 17, 2014 was a #AskACurator Day, organized by @MarDixon.

As @MarDixon’s site says

What is Ask a Curator? It’s a way to talk to curators and people who work in cultural venues you normally don’t have access to.

Basically, the curators from all around the world get on Twitter and answer people’s questions, and if you follow the hashtag #AskACurator you’ll see the full feed of all the questions and answers.

The 2015 #AskACurator day, by the way, will be held pretty soon – on September 16 – so put that date on your calendar if you love museums!


Recap from the 2014 #AskACurator Day

It just so happened that on September 17, 2014 I had a day off, and even though I was planning on going shopping, I ended up spending a good part of the day following the feed, and asking my own questions too, of course. (Because talking about art wins over shopping any day in my book.)

And naturally, the list of accounts that I follow grew by dozens:)

But I don’t mind.

We try to go to museums as much as possible when we travel, and I even have a “museums” category for my posts, but as much as I like to travel, I know that I will never get to visit all of the museums in the world that I’d like to.

Twitter and #AskACurator gave me a way to see the beautiful things the participating museums own and an opportunity to chat with the curators of several museums I have visited in the past, and many others that I may never see.

For instance, the curator of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, in beautiful Madrid, Spain said that the museum now allows photography in every room, except the room that houses the famous painting Guernica, by Pablo Picasso, which surprised me, because we were told not to take pictures there.

The same curator also reminded me the title  of my favorite sculpture at the museum, the Great Prophet by Pablo Gargallo. I mistakenly thought it was titled the Warrior.

(You can read more about this striking piece of art in my post “Learning more about Pablo Gargallo’s Great Prophet.”)

my chat with the curators at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, Spain
my chat with the curators at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, Spain

I also got a chance to ask the curator from the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, UK the following question:

What percentage of your collection is on display and how much is in storage?


For those who have not been to the V&A – it’s a HUGE museum, and if they only showcase 26% of their collection… I wonder what wonderful treasures they have that are not showcased.

(By the way, you can read my thoughts on the V&A collection of period clothing in “Period Clothing at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London,” but that’s just a tiny piece of what this fantastic place has on display.)

In addition, I was very glad I got a chance to talk to curators from the relatively young, but magnificent Museu Thyssen-Bornemissza, in Madrid, Spain whose entire collection you can see online, at wonderful resolution.  I asked them

How long did it take to digitize all of your holdings to post online?

my chat with curators from Museu Thyssen-Bornemissza, in Madrid, Spain
my chat with curators from Museu Thyssen-Bornemissza, in Madrid, Spain


I loved these curators’ answer to another one of my other questions:

What piece do you wish the visitors noticed more?

Other museums were more specific (click on the screenshot of the tweet to go to the Museum’s page) when answering this question:

my chat with the curators at the National Gallery Canada, which I visited very a long time ago and would love to go back

By the way, you can see the National Gallery of Canada’s James Wilson Morrice‘s and Jean Paul Riopelle‘s paintings and a photo of Michel de Broin’s sculpture Majestic online. I did get to see a Riopelle this year – Tribute to Rosa Luxemburg” – though that was at The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec 

On another hand, the curators at the Universalmuseum Joanneum in Graz, Austria suggested the visitors look for:

I admit, I have never heard of the Universalmuseum Joanneum in Graz, Austria before, but a quick look at their pages about the State Rooms, especially the Planetary Room, and does make me want to go there some time. Just click through the image galleries on the “Shining a light on a Baroque world” page, and you will want to go as well.

The curators from the ESSL Museum in Vienna, Austria that holds contemporary art promoted their “young art collection”:

comments from the curators at the ESSL Museum in Vienna, Austria
comments from the curators at the ESSL Museum in Vienna, Austria

You can see more information about ESSL’s Art Award CEE online.

Here are a few more suggestions on what to look for from other curators:

It was also fun to see the curators’ replies to:

Have you ever broken an item?

That question made me ask:

Which piece in the collection breaks the most often?


As you can see, #AskACuratory day is a lot of fun, especially if you love art and museums. If you are interested in reading more of last year’s discussion look for the dozens of recaps on Storify like these:

There are many, many other Storify stories, just as interesting.

If you’re into statistics, Mar Dixon put together some data in “#AskACurator 2014: Building a Community and My TakeAways.”

In closing, again, if you love museums, get your questions ready, and do put aside some time on September 16, 2015, and join the #AskACurator day. I do hope to be able to pop in and ask a few questions as well.

You can see the list of museums planning to participate in Mar Dixon’s “#AskACurator Who To Ask” post.

Can you guess the painter’s name?

By the way, can you guess the name of the painter who created the painting detail from which I used as the featured photo (the photo at the beginning of the post)?

He’s one of the painters whose work has to be seen in person, because reproductions just don’t convey the genius of his work.

Invitation to the #WeekendWanderlust Link Up

#WeekendWanderlust, hosted by Chris & Heather from A Brit and a Southerner, Jessi & Tara from Outbound Adventurer, Ashley from A Southern Gypsy, Justin and Lauren from Justin Plus Lauren, and yours truly, is a collaborative effort to share travel blog posts, and to discuss all travel-related things.

The hosts organize each week a link up through which travel bloggers from around the world can promote their posts, in exchange for a promise to give some attention to other travel bloggers. (One of the rules for linking up is to comment on three linked up posts.)

If the link up is still open, feel free to add a link to one of your posts below, then comment on at least three other linked up posts.

If you leave a comment on this post, I will reciprocate with a comment as soon as I can!

Also, don’t forget to join the #WeekendWanderlust chat on Twitter, every Saturday, at 11am EST, 3pm GMT, 11 pm SGT. See the list of upcoming topics on Travelogx.

#WeekendWanderlust link up logo

17 thoughts on “Make time on September 16, 2015 for #AskACurator Day”

  1. Thank you for reading, Katja! I hope you can pop on Twitter next Wednesday and ask a few questions as well. It’s such a fun conversation!

    1. Thank you for reading, Sarah! I hope you and your kids can participate! It sounds like plenty of the museums that you visited during your travels will be there, answering questions.

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