You Like This: A Democratic Approach to the Museum Collection

October 6, 2011 - January 15, 2012 Jane L. Stern Gallery, General Exhibition

Ever heard the expression “two heads are better than one”? Well, when it came time to curate an upcoming exhibition at the Museum, we took that idea to a logical extreme by giving the big decisions to you and others like you, allowing our community to vote and handpick pieces from the Museum’s permanent collection for display.

The exhibition, titled You Like This: A Democratic Approach to the Museum Collection, utilized the phenomenon of crowdsourcing (outsourcing a task to a large group of people) to narrow the 3,500 objects in the Museum’s permanent collection down to 50 for display.

The process began last spring with an initial survey to decide which types of art and artists the community wanted to see (read the follow up). Museum staff then worked with a group of community members to narrow down the works of art to a more manageable number using the guidelines from the initial survey (read the follow up). After that, the public voted again in a final survey we posted online in July. Then, we called back the community curators after the final selections were made to choose how the works will be displayed when You Like This opens (read the follow up). It’s been a fun process, made more so by the thrill of uncertainty.

We invite you to see the show you had a hand in creating. While you’re at it, we invite you to consider this idea of crowdsourcing – we are, and we plan on taking the experiences we learned from You Like This and using them in future projects.

Click on thumbnails for full image.