When you think of art on display, you will almost certainly think of the museums of the world. This is a natural reaction because most of us have visited a museum at one stage of our lives or another and museums have a way of etching themselves in the memory. Even people that are not fans of art will remember the visit to the museum that made them feel inspired and filled them with awe, even if they do not want to admit it. However, some people cannot distinguish between a museum and a gallery, thinking that they are often the same thing when in fact there are stark contrasts between the two.
In terms of the layout of both museums and galleries, the two are incredibly similar in many respects. They will have wide and open spaces that individuals can stand in to admire the works of art displayed. The rooms will often feel light and airy so as to encourage individuals to stand around and feel at home. You will often be able to wander from one room or area to the next unrestricted, as well as stand a safe distance away from the art to admire it. However, in neither a museum nor a gallery will you be able to touch the work and risk damaging it permanently. It is all extremely valuable, even if that is not necessarily in monetary terms but to the artist permanently. However, that is pretty much where the similarities end, and the differences prove a valid reason why you should distinguish between the two.
Museums actually have a valid function – to collect historical and modern artefacts and works of art for educational purposes, as well as the preservation of the work for future generations to learn from and enjoy. They are designed to offer the world of art to any individual wanting to see it on a platter and provide great access at reasonable rates. Most museums are non-profit because the money that they do make is ploughed straight back into improving them for the general public. The sizes of museums vary to the extremely large like the Museum of Modern Art in London to the very small like the Ackland Art Museum on the University of Chapel Hill North Carolina campus. However, regardless of the size and art genres they hold, they are designed for your enjoyment.
Galleries, on the other hand, are actually designed to sell artwork. It may be the artwork of local artists or those that are more famous but want to make a name for themselves. These galleries are most definitely for profit. The way the art is displayed is designed to highlight each individual piece to ensure that the asking rice is met. Artists actually commission galleries to display their work so that they get a percentage of the profits. Galleries can actually be located almost anywhere, from a town to a major city, and can be of any given size. The smaller ones often showcase local talent and the larger ones display a more diverse range of art, from the well known to the new kids on the block. However, all of them tend to advertise on the Internet these days to ensure that the art can reach a wider audience, and this in turn boosts revenue.
Galleries and museums alike have a variety of events, exhibitions and lectures held in them from time to time, but those held in galleries are likely to be local artists courting buyers for their pieces or giving advice to others on how to become an artists in the hope that they will also earn money too. Thos held at museum are for educational purposes, whether academic or general interest. If it is a more famous artist then they will often hold lectures to give advice to individual artists with no ulterior motive. Museums may also hold classes if they are committed to helping the community.
These differences make it quite clear why galleries and museums should never be confused. Both have an active role to play in the art world and advance modern art no end, but they have very different roles that should never be confused.