While originally intended to give prospective visitors a glimpse of what surprises await, Kirkland Museum’s 360 Degree Virtual Tour also serves as a substitute for an in-person visit while the museum in Denver is closed temporarily. The self-navigated tour allows viewers to virtually enter the museum through the front door and select from a menu of rooms and galleries to explore approximately 4,400 works on view. Kirkland Museum’s unique and rich aesthetic is front and center from the moment the artistically produced and hyper-realistic virtual tour is launched.
Thanks to the vision of Founding Director & Curator Hugh Grant, who assembled and curated the permanent collection, Kirkland Museum’s three collections (International Decorative Art, Colorado & Regional Art and the works of Vance Kirkland) are displayed in a way that is noticeably different than most other museums. The art is arranged in “salon style” with fine art (paintings and sculpture) shown in the same galleries with decorative art. This allows Kirkland Museum visitors to “time travel” through about 150 years of art while exploring every major design movement from Arts & Crafts to Postmodern, displayed with paintings and sculpture by artists connected to Colorado. While rare, a few other museums have done salon-style displays, such as the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and the Neue Galerie in New York.
At Kirkland Museum paintings and objects are sometimes composed as vignettes where, for instance, Art Deco furniture is grouped together with a period radio, lamp, phone and other accessories, as if you have walked into someone’s vintage home.
Comparative displays are done where several styles of design from the same era, such as Art Nouveau and Wiener Werkstätte, are placed in the same gallery so that comparisons flatware of different eras, along with the furniture, Kirkland Museum illustrates the history of eating, drinking and sitting of much of the 20th century.
Vance Kirkland Historic Painting Studio
One of the highlights of the Museum is seeing the historic painting studio of Vance Kirkland (1904–1981), and the straps from which he sometimes suspended while working on large paintings on his worktable.
Kirkland Museum’s 360 Degree Virtual Tour can be accessed 24/7 at kirklandmuseum.org.