Tags for: The Complete Guide to Stories from Storage
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The Complete Guide to Stories from Storage

Jessica Ketz, Digital Communications Manager
February 19, 2021
"STORIES FROM STORAGE" written on a red background.

Image Courtesy of the Cleveland Musem of Art

Due to the pandemic, exhibition projects that had been in development for years were suddenly halted and turned upside-down. However, this offered a new perspective and resulted in a spellbinding exhibition. It usually takes years to plan and curate a show, but we curated Stories from Storage within a mere handful of months by looking to our own resources.

Stories from Storage is a narrative told through art about life during the COVID-19 pandemic. Think of the exhibition as an anthology of twenty short stories authored by our curators. In preparation for Stories from Storage, we asked that each of our curators develop a stand-alone presentation of objects not currently on view in the galleries.

Stories from Storage reds color block
Image Courtesy of the Cleveland Musem of Art

We went into the vaults to reveal rarely-seen artworks. While the CMA has more than 63,000 artworks in its permanent collection, only about 4,000 are on view in the galleries. Works remain in storage for various reasons: some are light sensitive, some have condition issues, some have contested attributions and others simply do not fit into the narratives or finite spaces of the galleries.

We encourage you to visit Stories from Storage at the CMA and immerse yourself in other material we have gathered as your Complete Guide to Stories from Storage. Here are some more ways to get the full experience of the new exhibition.

Image Courtesy of the Cleveland Musem of Art

Desktop Dialogue: An Art Anthology

A new education series complements Stories from Storage. Developed in collaboration with the creative writing organization Literary Cleveland, the series invites four local storytellers to offer creative interpretations of select objects on view in the show.

These free events are virtual and take place on Wednesdays at noon. Check out the lineup:

March 17 — Chapter 1: Playwright Eric Coble (The Velocity of Autumn, Bright Ideas) draws from photographs of popular tourist locales to create the dramatic monologue “That Which Can Be Held.” Watch Coble’s live performance and then join him and curator Barbara Tannenbaum for a conversation about the fantasy and romance of travel in image and spoken word.

April 7 — Chapter 2: Food writer and culinary historian Sarah Lohman (Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine) brings viewers on a journey to the culture and landscape of the Navajo Nation that begins with artist Lenore Tawney’s postcard collage Cañon de Chelly. In weaving her narrative, Lohman draws on curator Emily Peters’ research into Tawney’s practice and artist Zefren Anderson’s deep knowledge of Diné art and history.

April 21 — Chapter 3: Musical collective, Mourning [A] BLKstar presents a meditative soundscape created in collaboration with multi-media artist Jenn Kidd and inspired by Buddhist and Hindu devotional objects Green Tara; Agni, God of Fire; and Bodhisattva Manjushri: Lord of Wisdom. Band members RA Washington and Teresa May join curator Sonya Rhie Mace to discuss their distinctive interpretations of these sacred and protective artworks.

May 5 — Chapter 4: Poet Kamden Hilliard presents a new work, developed in dialogue with Kara Walker’s monumental collage-drawing The Republic of New Afrika at a Crossroads. Hilliard and curator Key Jo Lee discuss the histories that Walker’s work unearths as well as the new understandings Hilliard’s poem reveals.

ArtLens App in front of Exhibition showing SfS guide
Stories from Storage Guid in the ArtLens App

The Stories from Storage Guide on the ArtLens App

You already know that the ArtLens App is a great way to explore our collection from anywhere, at any time. But the good news doesn’t stop there! We have created a Stories from Storage Guide in ArtLens. You’ll be welcomed by a special message from CMA Director, William Griswold and then navigate through the galleries to view each story and hear remarks from every curator.

The twenty stories on the new exhibit, Stories from Storage

Stories from Storage in Collection Online

Did you know that you can filter the CMA Collection Online by exhibition? Peruse all the artworks in Stories from Storage and read all the information at your own pace.

Stories from Storage Store window display
Image Courtesy of the Cleveland Musem of Art

Shop the Stories from Storage Collection

Want to take a momento of the exhibition home with you?

Stop by the store in person or online for a collection of items inspired by Stories from Storage.


This is a journey through twenty stories that spans about 3,000 years of art. The show includes voices across the museum and highlights art from all corners of the world. In these stories are a response to the times we are living in today, where art and life blend seamlessly. Stories from Storage has been curated #withlovefromCMA.

We hope you enjoy this unique exhibition. From the Cleveland Museum of Art, with love.

Quote from The Plain Dealer. Image Courtesy of the Cleveland Museum of Art

P.S. — You don’t have to take our word for it! See what others have to say about this exhibition.

…the exhibition highlights the breadth of the museum’s collection, explores wide-ranging interpretive approaches, and unearths wonderful things that will surprise even the most devoted followers. — The Plain Dealer

…they all share the common thread of human creativity, and prove that everything old — as most things are in a museum — can become new again. — WKYC

4 Pandemic-Inspired ‘Stories From Storage’ At Cleveland Museum of Art. — Ideastream

See works from the museum’s permanent collection, including some that have not been on public display for years, in this unique exhibition. — Ohio Magazine

“It’s all kinds of different temperatures and moods, media, periods. issues. questions and voices — not only the object’s voices but also curatorial voices, for sure,” Bergh says. “I think it’s the first show that we’ve all signed our wall panels on.” — CMA Curator Susan Bergh in The News-Herald

This Cleveland Museum of Art Exhibit Shines Light On Untold Stories — Cleveland Magazine

“Out with the new, in with the old” might seem an untimely adage for a museum sector currently in the thrall of digital revolution. For the Cleveland Museum of Art, however, revitalizing the role of its vast storage collection is creating opportunity in adversity. — Jing Culture & Commerce

Museums Are Back, but Different: A Visitor’s Guide — The New York Times

New CMA Exhibit Features Treasures from Museum’s Vaults — Cleveland Scene