Museology Master of Arts Program

June 12, 2015

Approaching the Limitless: The Sustainability of Art-Collecting Institutions of the Pacific Northwest

Thesis by Andrew Walsh (2015)

This paper focused on growth and sustainability within art collections at seven art-collecting institutions of the Pacific Northwest. This topic is crucial to the future collecting plans of art-collecting institutions. The goals of this study were to identify how art-collecting institutions addressed collections growth and how sustainability was considered and managed by professionals from art-collecting institutions of the Pacific Northwest.

Data was collected using semi-structured interviews with curatorial and/or collections staff at seven art-collecting institutions. Institutions were selected based on their proximity to Seattle, WA, and interviewees were selected based on their direct involvement with collections. Data demonstrated that museums are almost full, and that contemporary work is particularly challenging to collect. It also illustrated that permanent solutions do not exist at present, and that there has been an increased focus placed on institutional planning. Limitations to this study included the sample size and size differentials among the institutions analyzed.


Keywords: research, art museums, collections, collecting, pacific northwest


Walsh, A. K. H. (2015). Approaching the limitless: The sustainability of art-collecting institutions of the pacific northwest (Order No. 1599956). Available from Dissertations & Theses @ University of Washington WCLP; ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (1730400057). Retrieved from