Museum collection

vintage poster of Philips

Over 30,000 objects

The MIAT collection started in 1977. Today the MIAT implements an active collecting policy and the collection contains over 30,000 objects. Pièces de résistance include the Mule Jenny and the twiner dating from 1789, both of which feature on the Flemish Government’s Masterpiece Decree list. Age is not always a criterion. The MIAT also looks to the future. By collecting the latest gadgets on the market the museum pursues a contemporary and even future-oriented collecting policy.  

What does the MIAT include in its collection?

The industrial chain underlies the whole collection. It consists of five links: producer, production process, finished product, distribution and consumer. Who are the producers? What are the raw materials? Which machines are used? How is the product made? How does it reach the marketplace? What does the consumer think of it? The MIAT collection answers all these questions.

The guiding principle behind the museum’s collecting policy is dubbed ‘SLIM collectioneren’ which translates as CLEVER collecting. The acronym SLIM stands for:

·     S: Sector consultation and cooperation
·     L: Lively and accessible
·     I: Innovative, intangible and international
·     M: Mobility and multicultural

Unique exhibits

The MIAT’s most important sub-collections are those relating to textiles and printing. They contain items which are unique at national and international level.

Priorities

The MIAT collecting policy prioritizes the following sectors:

·     textiles
·     printing
·     marketing and advertising
·     Fast Moving Consumer Goods

Fast Moving Consumer Goods

The Fast Moving Consumer Goods are also important sub-collections. They cover domestic appliances and products and small electrical goods and products relating to personal hygiene, telecommunications, audio and video and office equipment and supplies. These products are synonymous with the mass production and consumption that characterize the industrial society. Because they have a short lifespan and are non-durable, FMCGs usually fall outside the collecting remit of the ‘classic’ museum which means that such objects soon become scarce. The MIAT sees it as part of its remit to collect these FMCGs too.

Gifts

Most of the items in the collection were gifted to the museum, but on rare occasions we might also purchase items. If you think you have something that will be of interest to the museum, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Only 3% is in the museum

Only 3% of the total collection is on display in the museum. The rest is available for loan and study purposes. If you are curious and would like to know exactly what it contains, be sure to visit the Museuminzicht website or Beeldbank Gent.

To find out about specific items in the collection, please contact pieter.neirinckx@gent.be. If you would like to consult reading matter in the museum library, contact brigitte.demeyer@gent.be.