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Philbrook Museum Offers Behind-the-Scenes Look

SCOTT STULEN: Philbrook Director Scott Stulen discusses Museum Confidential. The exhibition is unique to Philbrook and offers a behind-the-scenes experience that illuminates the inner workings of museums, collections and their workers.

GTR Newspapers photo

In October, Philbrook Museum of Art opened Museum Confidential, running through May 6, 2018.

This groundbreaking exhibition, unique to Philbrook, gives visitors the opportunity to observe museum practices, hear stories, and see an unprecedented number of never-before-seen works of art. The format of this exhibition allows Philbrook Director (and Museum Confidential curator) Scott Stulen the opportunity to present a unique, behind-the-scenes experience that illuminates the inner workings of museums, collections and their workers.

The exhibition explores how museums work from the inside out through four participatory sections: 

• Museum Mysteries (Research and Investigate)
• The Other 95% (Look Closer)
DIY Exhibition (Curate a Show)
• Locally-Inspired Installation by Artist-in-Residence Andy DuCett (Work With an Artist)

Museum Mysteries
Every work of art has a story. Often, that story that extends beyond the subject of the work itself. Through Museum Mysteries, visitors join the Philbrook team to investigate and discover the stories, history and complicated issues behind works from the collection. 

The Other 95%
The average museum typically shows five percent or less of its collection at any given time. This exhibition reveals hundreds of rarely or never-before-seen items from Philbrook storage through a large-scale, salon-style presentation, including pieces from the Phillips family, design objects, and dozens of paintings and prints.

DIY Exhibition
See what it takes to be a museum curator. Curating is about making choices. In DIY Exhibition, visitors will learn the considerations that curators must weigh, and then they will make their own choices to create a unique exhibition.

Work With an Artist
Resident artist Andy DuCett takes over a section of the gallery with a site-specific installation titled, “At the Intersection of Everywhere,” which playfully illustrates the ongoing relationship between museums and artists. The installation features a working motel lobby, research library, and other elements focused on the everyday objects humans collect and cherish. A nearby portion of the gallery will offer insight into the artist’s process by presenting preparatory sketches, photographs and ephemera from DuCett’s Minneapolis studio.

Museum Confidential will also feature dozens of scheduled and pop-up programs throughout the run of the show, including an evening with NPR show, Invisibilia, to Tattoo Roulette, where guests can get an artist-designed tattoo. Visitors can chat via Skype with museums around the world, take irreverent Museum Hack tours and learn about the ongoing care of the collection and villa. Every guest will receive an experience punch card, which can unlock access to exclusive experiences, based on frequent visitation. And with the new Philbrook Fridays platform, every weekend starts with late night events and programs at the museum.

“Museums are much more than places to store beautiful objects,” says Philbrook Director Scott Stulen. “They’re alive and constantly changing, full of stories, history, and collective community experience. They’re also a lot of fun.”

The Philbrook main campus spans 25 acres of grounds and formal gardens, and features an historic home, as well as a modern museum complex. The satellite location in downtown Tulsa showcases the Philbrook modern, contemporary, and Native American art collections, as well as the Eugene B. Adkins Collection and Study Center of Native American art.

Philbrook Museum of Art is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, and 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday. Philbrook Downtown, 116 E. M.B. Brady St., is open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

Philbrook admission runs $9 for adults, $7 for seniors and university students; Philbrook Members and youth 17 and younger are always free. Philbrook Downtown admission runs $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and university students; Philbrook Members and youth 17 and younger are always free.

Updated 11-14-2017

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