Trending Topics

I’ve been thinking since I started this blog about trends in museum exhibitions. As I thought about what I wanted to write about when it comes to museums, certain topics keep coming up. I wrote about this in my post on animal-focused exhibitions, and since then I have been spotting more trends, and other articles picking up on this.

Trendspotting is a curious pastime, once you become aware of a trend you start to see it everywhere. There’s also the question of what drives trends. Sometimes a subject becomes cool, and lots of museums are keen to highlight their collections which relate to a certain subject, or even country, which is in at a given time. Sometimes there is one very high profile exhibition, such as the V&A’s Savage Beauty, and other organisations are keen to cash in on the buzz around it – for example with the Tate’s tie in photography exhibition Working Process.


I’ve already listed some current and upcoming exhibitions about animals:

I’ve also since discovered:


Yes, taxidermy is about animals, but since the above exhibitions offer some unusual takes on animals in museums distinct from the usual natural history approach, and since taxidermy is currently so popular in its own right, I’ve given it its own list.

  • Taxidermy Is Dead (Long Live Taxidermy) at the Horniman until 21 June 2015
  • Notice Nature Feel Joy new gallery at Derby Museum and Art Gallery featuring work by Jazmine Miles-Long, an ethical taxidermist who has recently appeared at several museum events around the UK
  • Apart from taxidermy in exhibitions, there seems to be a trend for encouraging visitors to partake in a little DIY taxidermy at special courses and events at Barts Pathology Museum and the Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities.


This trend came to my attention via an article in the Guardian highlighting no less than three shoe-focused exhibitions in London this summer. Fashion exhibitions are always crowd-pleasers, so these are sure to be popular:


This is another trend which has been picked up by various articles and blogs, and many of the examples are from the last couple of years, so it could be that this trend is on the wain:


A little bit meta this one (or perhaps it’s actually just back to basics – I’m not sure which!). Several museums have mounted exhibitions recently examining the meaning of collections and the act of collecting.

I’d be interested to hear of other examples of exhibitions which fit these trends, or any other recurring themes which you have noticed.

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