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The depot collections

In the collection pavilion, the visitor discovers a collection of sculptures that, in terms of materials, dimensions, forms, styles and themes, is even more varied than the collection outside. There are also objects that provide context, such as scale models, design drawings or letters from the artists.

Works of art in the depot

The main reason why Middelheim Museum keeps works of art in depots instead of exhibiting them in the park is that these works cannot be placed outdoors – for example, because of their fragile materials or their limited dimensions. Many contemporary works, which can take all kinds of forms because of their idiosyncratic and innovative approach to sculpture, are also better off in an interior space. The fact that these works were collected is owing to the mission formulated when the museum was founded in 1950: to provide a complete overview of the development of sculpture from the end of the nineteenth century onwards.


Ever shown?

In the beginning, the museum showed these works in the orangery and from 1971 in the Braem Pavilion. However, these indoor spaces do not offer the right storage conditions for the long-term display of these often fragile sculptures. Since then, these works have only been shown sporadically in temporary exhibitions. In addition, the depots contain sculptures that once stood in the park but were severely affected by outdoor conditions and therefore brought to safety. And some sculptures are in the depot because they had to give up their place in the park to another work.


Other collections in depot

In addition to the core collection of sculptures, Middelheim Museum also maintains supporting collections, all of which are in storage. These are particularly important because of their relation to the core collection and include scale models and preliminary studies, drawings and prints, media art and photography. Finally, there are the library collections and the archive.


What is a depot?

A museum depot is a repository for objects in the collection that are not shown in a presentation. Middelheim Museum has a largely hidden network of depots in the park, with an open-air depot and a closed depot for the sculptures, a depot for drawings and prints, and a depot for the library collections and the archive in the orangery.

You can discover a selection of these hidden works of art in the new collection pavilion.