In the text panels and labels for our TOWNER 100 exhibitions you will find a glossary of words that are often associated with a collection of artworks.
The words help describe what a collection is, how artworks come into a collection and some of the actions used when looking after artworks.
Here you can see how Towner defines the words, but definitions can vary in different organisations.
Art Collection: a group of artworks owned by a public or private organisation or an individual. A collection usually has a theme that unites it, rather than being made up of unrelated items.
Accession/ing: the process of bringing an artwork into a collection.
Accession Code: a unique sequence of letters and/or numbers given to artworks when they come into a collection. The code allows the artwork to be identified easily.
Acquisition: an object that is bought by, or gifted to, a museum or gallery.
Bequest: the act of leaving an artwork or a financial gift to a collection through a will.
Collection Database: an electronic management system that stores images and information about artworks.
Collecting Policy: a document where the organisation states the rules that should be followed by people working with the collection and the priorities and themes for future acquisitions.
Commissioning for Acquisition: inviting an artist to make a new artwork that, once finished, will be acquired by an organisation for its collection. Conservation: the process of mending or restoring an artwork if it becomes damaged or degraded.
Collection Curator: looks after and researches the collection and shares it with visitors in exhibitions or displays, working with Towner’s wider team, community groups or artists.
Donation or Gift: an artwork being given to a collection without financial exchange.
Loan: an artwork that is borrowed by an organisation from another organisation’s collection or from an individual owner. The borrowing organisation will look after the artwork as if it was part of their collection.
Store: the location in which the collection is kept when it is not on display in the galleries. Sometimes this might be in a different location, but at Towner it is here in the building, and we are able to offer guided tours behind the scenes