If you flip through the Jewish Museum’s Instagram account today, you might be surprised to see artworks from the Studio Museum in Harlem. Likewise, over on the American Museum of Natural History’s page, paintings and sculptures from MoMA are taking center stage.
In a citywide exchange taking place for one day only, 18 museums from New York, plus Liberty Science Center in New Jersey, are featuring the art and artifacts from the collections of their peers, according to Wired.
Some swap pairings include the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, as well as the Queens Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The social media partnership is inspired by a similar project spearheaded by London museums in 2015, which featured ten of the city’s leading institutions, including the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. In New York, museum staff were encouraged to visit their partner institution’s collections prior to the swap.
“The swap was an opportunity to reexamine our collection through the lens of another institution that also explores identity,” said JiaJia Fei, the Jewish Museum’s director of digital, to the Observer by email. “We thought we were perfectly paired as museums that explored art and artists of Jewish or African descent, but made accessible for people of all backgrounds.”
Some highlights from today’s swaps can be found at the top of the Intrepid’s page, which features an electric glass iron made in 1946. The caption beneath the image explains that its unique construction from glass rather than metal was due to supply rationing for the war effort, when steel was diverted to make weapons and machinery—like the WWII aircraft carrier U.S.S. Intrepid, for instance—for U.S. troops rather than common household items.
Meanwhile, the New Museum is spotlighting a light installation by Cooper Joseph Studio in the lobby of the Museum of the City of New York. Starlight (Hanging Grid II) was created in response to the sweeping staircase inside the Georgian Colonial-Revival mansion on 5th Avenue that the museum calls home. What’s the installation’s connection to the New Museum? Staffers point out the the New Museum’s contemporary building on the Bowery was similarly designed with its Lower East Side surroundings in mind.
Below, some additional highlights from #MuseumInstaSwap.