Boijmans van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam Plans to Rent Out Space and Services to Private Collectors

The 'public art depot' was designed by MVRDV Architects Photo: MVRDV

It’s estimated that many museums show only 10 percent of their collections. In an effort to make more of its collection accessible to the public—and find an additional source of revenue—the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam has drafted plans to build a €50 million ($52.6 million) so-called “public art depot,” the Art Newspaper reports.

In a symposium at TEFAF, Maastricht, the museum’s director Sjarel Ex announced the new concept, which would allow the institution to show more of its 145,000-piece collection.

Ex also revealed that the institution has already approached over 50 European collectors offering them the opportunity to rent storage space within the facility. Interested collectors must be approved by the museum and agree to a minimum five-year storage contract. For an additional fee the depot also offers collectors services such as condition reports, loan facilitations, and other collection management solutions.

The state-of-the-art, climate-controlled storage spaces and conservation studios will be made accessible to the ticket-buying public, who will be taken on a tour of the salon-style presentation of the museum’s holdings accompanied by a guide and a guard. The facility will also contain learning centers and a restaurant.

Addressing the unusual idea Ex said “Of course we are afraid of conflict of interest but we will be careful with the contract.” He pointed out that the new business model reflects market conditions: “We are stimulating the market and taking a piece of the market back to the museum.”

The project is awaiting approval by Rotterdam city council, which is due to vote on the proposal on May 20. If given the green light the depot could be opened by 2018.

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