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The Annual Report of the Gothenburg Museum of Art – Göteborgs konstmuseum

The annual report of the Gothenburg Museum of Art documents the museum’s activities with the aim to support research. Among other things, the annual publication provides accounts of exhibitions, re-hangings, loans and borrowed works, educational activities, publications and research. It includes images of all new acquisitions in the collection.

In 2009, the Gothenburg Museum of Art resumed the tradition, long dormant, of annual reports. Up until 1955, yearly reports of the museum’s activities were published, including detailed information about acquisitions, exhibitions and so on. The last report, which summarized the years 1956–1966, was published in 1967. After that, shorter reports containing statistics regarding economy and visitor numbers, were supplied to the Cultural Administration of the City of Gothenburg. Because of cutbacks and new orders, documentation in the form of an annual report was given low priority, leading to serious amnesia. Thanks to the establishment of the research department in 2008, the annual report could be reintroduced.

One of the assignments of the research department is to reinforce the museum’s collective memory, and the annual report is one way of doing this. The lack of documentation of the museum’s activities after 1966 is in stark contrast to the thorough documentation from the earlier years of the museum. A consequence of this lack of documentation is that previous experience cannot be put to use when carrying out new projects. Materialized experiences facilitate future work in different areas within the museum. With time, systematic documentation makes it possible to see how the museum’s activities change. Thus, the annual report is an important source material for both the museum staff and external researchers, and contributes to increasing the visibility of the museum’s activities.