Art Museums Past Exhibitions Archive Research Project



Scope of project:

After the 12/17 audit of museums is completed, TFAO will separate from its main list of covered museums at A-C D-G H-L M-Q R-S T-Z those museums set for follow up in 2018 and 2019 that did not, at the date of the most recent audit, maintain a listing of past exhibits with a minimum of 250 words describing each exhibit. A separate list will be made of such exhibits, indexed by alphabetical order.

TFAO will then communicate with listed museums by mass mailing email an inquiry letter. Email addresses for all museums will be contained in the "To:" section of the email The text of the letter may say:


Attn: Media Relations Staff


During a recent audit of upcoming exhibits for your institution, we noted that your website does not have a section named "past/archived exhibitions." Could you please let us know if you are considering adding that section, and if so, approximately when it is scheduled for inclusion?

We believe that descriptions of past exhibits would be useful to diverse audiences including curators, writers, collectors, students, teachers and others.

At TFAO, we regularly research the upcoming calendar of exhibits for each American art museum that archives descriptions of past exhibits; with those descriptions having a minimum length of text. For included museums, we identify exhibits that have as a major component an aspect of representational American art. We place the names and dates of identified exhibits in our National Calendar of Exhibitions.

Later, during the period of exhibition of listed exhibits, we analyze each description. If the description on the museum's website exceeds our minimum word count, or references a news release exceeding the minimum, we cite the exhibit in our Topics in American Art catalog.

Best regards,


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