Central to the mission of the museum is the continued development and preservation of its art collection. The museum’s holdings of world art are internationally celebrated and a great source of pride for the Cleveland community and museum field, each year drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors from the region and beyond. Our collections are not as large in size as those held by our peers, but are recognized for being extremely selective. The growth of the collections is guided by a philosophy that favors quality over quantity and privileges the singular object over broad coverage in any given field. Ours in not an encyclopedic collection, but rather a selective survey of the history of art presented with works of the highest aesthetic quality and historical significance.
We hold in our endowment one of the largest acquisition funds of any art museum in the country. Each year, this fund produces income upon which our curators, director, and Board of Trustees draw to acquire new works of art, thus ensuring that our collections remain a dynamic and constantly evolving resource for our visitors.
The organization, security, preservation, research, and presentation of our collections are supported by the work of the museum’s collections management, conservation, curatorial, education, library, design, and exhibitions staff. Today, as we unveil the transformational renovation and expansion project phase by phase, our collections are coming back on view in state-of-the-art facilities and with 30 percent more gallery space that allows for the display of more works from our collections than ever before. New exhibition spaces further augment our ability to connect audiences with works of art. In addition to complementing the collections, the special exhibitions presented at the museum extend into those historic periods, geographic areas, or media that are absent from or not well represented in our collections.