Date of Award

Spring 2014

Document Type



Fine Arts


Visual art is an important part of any society. Humans have collected and studied visual art throughout history. The way that artwork is collected and maintained dictates the way that the collection is managed and maintained dictates what artworks will be available to be studied and displayed in the future. Today in the United States artworks are mostly managed in collections of nonprofit art organizations. Nonprofit art organizations come in all forms. The goals and functions of the organization directly influence how the artwork collection is managed. To demonstrate the various ways that different types of organizations maintain and organize their art collections this paper will analyze three different art organizations from the same community. The Archie Bray Foundation, Holter Museum, and Montana Historical Society all treat the art in their collections differently based on their overall goals and mission statement. Information has been compiled through interviews with those who work with the art collections, personal experience as a collections assistant, and information provided by each organization. The paper will conclude with a summary of similarities and differences each institution and potential suggestions to improve management of each collection.